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October 11, 2019
Homeowners looking to sell their home shouldn’t ignore popular real estate websites like Zillow. Claiming your home on these sites has become simply part of the process.
If You Don’t Claim Your Property On Zillow, You May Be Missing Out
The Internet has become an important part of the real estate buying and selling process. Websites like Zillow use public records to list properties, including yours, which is why it can’t be ignored.
Here’s Why You Should Claim Your Home On Zillow
You wouldn’t let a bad comment about your business go unanswered on Yelp, nor should you let your home go unclaimed on real estate websites.
The Internet has become the first place the majority of people look when shopping for a home. According to the National Real Estate Association, 99% of millennials use the Internet to search for a property. That compares to 89% of older boomers and 77% of those in the previous generation.
It’s for good reason. Thanks to digital technologies, home shoppers get a bird’s eye view of properties without having to get off the couch. Those same homebuyers tend to turn to real estate websites like Zillow.com to get a sense of what homes are selling for and what inventory is available. With more than 110 million listings, it has become an important step in the home buying process.
On Zillow’s website, visitors get a plethora of information that can help them make an informed buying decision. Some of that includes the square footage of the home, the year the property was built, any amenities such as granite countertops, and the last price the home sold for.
It also lists a Zestimate, Zillow's estimate of what the home is worth if it was sold today. That enables home buyers to zero in on properties with amenities they want at a price they can afford. It also allows the property owner to highlight those attributes buyers want in a house.
Public data could be dated, incorrect
In order to compile that information, Zillow relies on public records, which means some of the information could be incorrect or outdated. That’s a big reason why homeowners, particularly ones looking to sell now or in the near future, should claim their property on the site. More than 7 billion people visited the website last year. That’s a big audience that could be viewing incorrect information about your house.
The process to claim your home is free. It gives homeowners the opportunity to weigh in about why they love their home, what’s great about the community, and the school district. They can even upload photos and videos, providing Zillow with more information to accurately value the property.
Adding amenities that may have been overlooked could boost the value, which means more money in the bank come sale time. Keep in mind there are no guarantees, but it's better to add them than to leave them out. If you have a bathroom attached to your master bedroom and don’t list that, Zillow will assume you don’t have that. If other homes in your neighborhood are boasting that attribute, it could reduce the value of your property and interest from buyers.
Take the time to sell your home on Zillow
Once you create an account on Zillow and claim your home, it's important to take the time to go through all the amenities Zillow lists and check the boxes that apply to your property. There is a separate area on the site where you can describe the amenities and attributes of your home in more detail. Zillow lists a pool as one of the amenities. In the home description box you can elaborate on your pool if, say, it is heated, is in-ground, or has a slide.
When describing your home it's a good idea to tailor it to the type of buyer you think will view the property. If you live in a neighborhood that has a top-ranked school district, it's likely families are looking to purchase in the area. It would be a good idea to highlight the school district in your description as well as local parks and community events. If your property is in an area where dining and entertainment are a short walk away, that could draw singles or empty nesters, so make sure your description appeals to them.
Outside of piquing the interest of the type of buyers you think are looking, your home description should focus on all the positive attributes that only you can convey. It's your chance to sell your house. Refrain from exaggerations or false statements. Homebuyers can easily confirm the truth which could turn them off. If you are lying about basic facts, what else are you hiding?
Once you are ready to pull the trigger and sell your home with a realtor or once the property sells, you can easily unclaim your home so that the agent can tie it into the multiple listing service (MLS). This is a database that real estate professionals use to find properties for sale. While Zillow doesn’t want you to unclaim property, it does make it easy for you to do. Go to your property’s webpage, click on “More” and then “Release ownership claim.” Choose the reason why you want to release the claim of ownership and click submit. A message confirming the action should appear.
Your efforts to claim your home on Zillow may not result in a higher valuation or more buyers knocking down your door. But it will allow you to correct or update information and present your property in the best light possible.