Zillow.com Expands Its Free National Listings

Seattle-High foreclosure rates and the rapid overall growth of the real estate-owned property market are fueling the expansion of online real estate broker communities such as Zillow.com, a provider of free national housing information to homeowners, buyers, sellers, real estate agents and mortgage professionals.

The newest Zillow partner is Weichert Realtors of Morris Plains, N.J., whose 40,000 listings nationwide will be automatically posted to the Zillow Listings Feed program on a regular basis.

To date, Zillow said, its website contains over 3.2 million listings. Weichert joins hundreds of new Zillow.com partners since its creation in 2006, including the recent addition of the Houston Association of Realtors.

HAR alone has expanded the Zillow database with over 70,000 listings in the Greater Houston area, as well as links to HAR.com. The HAR-Zillow partnership enables HAR's Houston MLS to automatically feed all for-sale listings to Zillow.com. At the same time, it provides free marketing for the listings of 26,000 HAR members, which is the second-largest local association of Realtors in the country.

A Zillow spokesperson told MSN the company expects to finalize additional partnerships and is in conversation "with multiple MLS and brokerages."

Upon the announcement, Weichert Lead Network president Michael Montsko said the partnership is in line with Weichert's effort to maximize marketing exposure to its associates and listings.

"The Zillow Listings Feed program offers a tremendous marketing opportunity for our agents and their sellers," he said. "By syndicating our listings to Zillow, we are able to expose our clients to Zillow's 5.5 million visitor's each month."

Listings posted include a description of the property with multiple photos and contact information for the listing agent. In addition partners have the opportunity to provide links to their specific websites. For instance, links to the Weichert website enable Zillow users to retrieve additional information. Users also have the option to connect with a Weichert sales associate if they need guidance through the home buying or home selling process.

Weichert Realtors represents 18,000 sales associates operating through over 500 company-owned and franchised sales offices nationwide. "We're excited to have a company of Weichert's size and stature join our listings feed program," said Zillow's chief operating officer, Spencer Rascoff. "Weichert has more than 500 company-owned and franchised sales offices in key markets throughout the U.S. We believe this partnership will be extremely beneficial to our users nationwide."

Besides for sale listings from MLS and brokerages, Zillow offers a wide variety of listings users can search under three main categories: for sale by owner, new construction and foreclosures.

Overall foreclosure data, Zillow said, are retrieved from specialized sites. One such source is the Foreclosure.com database, which contains pre-foreclosures, foreclosure auction properties, bankruptcies, REO and properties from HUD, VA, Fannie Mae and other government agencies. It also includes properties from over 100 corporate sellers, the spokesperson said.

"All of their information comes directly from these sources on a daily basis and is fed to Zillow. That said REO properties are a part of our user search experience on Zillow."

The Zillow Listings Feed program allows listing providers to automatically gain free marketing exposure for their data on one of the country's most popular real estate sites. Advantages include allowing real estate brokerages to post for-sale listings directly to the site in a bulk feed and giving the homes a virtual for-sale sign at no cost, Zillow said.

Plus, individual agents have the option to enhance exposure by creating a free profile page with photos, contact information and more details about themselves, linked directly from each listing.

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