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Zillow, the White House, NAR and what this means for HouseLogic.com.

by Greg Robertson on August 6th, 2013

Screen Shot 2013-08-06 at 4.36.21 PMIn case you haven’t heard President Barack Obama and Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff this Wednesday, Aug. 7 at 10:00 a.m. PT (1:00 p.m. ET) are going to have a conversation about the current housing market. The virtual event will be streamed on zillow.com/whitehouse and Whitehouse.gov.

So you might ask yourself, why did the President of the United States choose Zillow instead, hmmmmm, let me think a minute, is there an organization that represents national real estate? Their name is right on the tip of my tongue….let me think a minute! Bingo! I got it! NAR, the National Association of REALTORS! So again, I ask, why did the President of the United States choose Zillow instead of the National Associaiton of REALTORS to get his message about housing? Well I dunno, but it looks like a lot of NAR members are asking the same question since NAR had to issue a “Special Report” email to respond.

The email is, putting it mildly, embarrassing. I started to write this post by highlighting sections of it and picking it apart. But I think there is a larger issue:

HouseLogic.com

Here’s the mission statement of HouseLogic from their website:

“Our Mission. You care about your home. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® cares about homeownership. To help you become the best, most responsible homeowner you aspire to be, we want to provide you with free information and tools you can use to make smart and timely decisions about your home.
From time to time, we may reach out to you to help us support legislation and/or policies that may have an impact on you, the homeowner. You can choose to join our cause. Or you can choose not to…

Houselogic is supposed to be the site where NAR engages with consumers about legislation issues. Can you imagine the coup it would have been if The President of The United States hosted a live streaming event on HouseLogic.com? NAR would be beating its chest until they gave themselves a heart attack. But no, POTUS choose Zillow instead.

I would say that HouseLogic also competes with Realtor.com, but that’s giving Houselogic too much credit. What HouseLogic.com does do is cost a lot of money. Millions to operate each year.

It’s time for NAR to face reality. HouseLogic is a turd. And it’s time for NAR to flush that turd.

And to Spencer and his crew at Zillow. Well played sir, well played.

12 Comments
  1. Craig permalink

    When questioning a source or motivation,
    follow the money!
    We know NAR as a not for profit lobby for its paying members
    that must adhere to laws,rules and fiduciary to the public.
    Zillow however is successfully making a large fortune by
    inserting itself between the the source of the aggregate data supplied
    By Realtor’s and NAR.
    Realtor s foolishly pay for the privilege
    and the public thinks its free like Network TV
    but who pays the bills for that(advertisers)
    Cheers

  2. Just imagine… A world where NAR and Realtor.com played in the same sandbox… For the betterment of its members and the consumer!…

    Just imagine what could be if NAR and Realtor.com teamed up to become the public portal for the Realtor advocacy message…

    Just imagine what could be if NAR/Realtor.com played for the same team.

    Just imagine if NAR didn’t spend $35 million of our dues money on Houselogic.com.

    Just imagine the day when Houselogic.com got more views than my PERSONAL web site….

    Just imagine…

  3. Mike C permalink

    Not surprised by this at all. Having only been briefly in the real estate industry I have only a 10,000 foot view of the business from the inside. However, I have moved a lot. I’ve used lots of agents for buying and selling. You could consider me a a super-user of real estate services. (I’ve moved 6 times in the last 5 years). I didn’t use an agent for the last moves. Well, I did, but only in the sense that I had married my agent. 🙂

    Here is some of the perceptions I routinely encounter that is sometimes hard to see from the inside:

    – Outside of the real estate industry the average person has no clue what or who NAR is.

    – Those that do have a slight clue think it is a union for real estate agents.

    – Being affiliated with NAR means something inside the industry and is pretty much not even a factor for consideration when picking an agent. A friend’s endorsement of an agent carries several orders of magnitude more weight than being affiliated with NAR. In the last 20 years I’ve probably used a dozen different agents in different cities and not once was being associated with NAR a reason I picked an agent. I always picked them because someone I trusted recommended them.

    – Most consumers only deal with an agent 2 or 3 times in their life. It is generally viewed as a necessary evil like lawyers or car salesmen. The average consumer neither understands or appreciates the value an agent brings.

    – Because of my past affiliation with the industry I occasionally get approached by people looking to get into the business. I’ve introduced a few of them to Greg and others. Not one of them (out of about a dozen) knew who NAR was or that Realtor.com was affiliated with them and these are people who had bothered to do even some level of research of the industry.

    What has all this got to do with the President and Zillow?

    Because if the President wants to have a national dialog on something about real estate he has to do it with someone the general public knows about. Stop the average person on the street and ask them who is NAR and who is Zillow…I’m willing to bet 80% know of Zillow and the other 20% won’t know either of them.

  4. Greg Robertson permalink

    @Mike C. Great insight!

  5. I love reading through a post that can maqke men
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