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Lenders accused of creating fake Zillow profiles to get leads

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Mortgage Professional America | 02 Dec 2014, 09:09 AM Agree 0
An employee at the digital realtor has filed a lawsuit, claiming some mortgage lenders misused the website’s co-marketing agent and lender program.
  • Bruce | | 02 Dec 2014, 12:46 PM Agree 0
    Wow, someone ensuring lenders and agents play by the rules. You don't see that everyday.
  • | | 02 Dec 2014, 12:53 PM Agree 0
    Perhaps trying to get on the whistleblower train? Remember how much the former employee at Countrywide was paid for her information?
  • Brett | | 02 Dec 2014, 05:07 PM Agree 0
    So you are saying zillow is playing entirely above board? imagine that.
  • | | 02 Dec 2014, 08:09 PM Agree 0
    According to..."may be a R ESPN violation if not paying"...NO, IT IS A R ESPN violation to not pay specifically the amount per relative advertising.
  • Karen Deis | | 03 Dec 2014, 02:39 PM Agree 0
    I called Zillow on this very topic a few months ago when a LO brought this to my attention.

    The back story-- the LO stated that a real estate agent was trying to get her to sign up for Zillow and that she would be one of 5 mortgage officers featured on the real estate agents sight. She would pay 20% of the fees, with the other 4 mortgage mortgage officers paying 20%. She told me that she called Zillow and they told her it was perfectly legal.

    So I called them myself and was told by the Zillow rep that they checked with their attorney's and it was perfectly legal to do that. I asked him for a copy of the Zillow attorney's opinion letter and he said he would email to me--but I never received it--even after following up several times.

    I also did an expose' several years ago on Zillow, where they claim they double check the credentials of the LO who join their site. So I set up a fake account, with a fake license number and my real name and was accepted immediately. I wrote an article about it and they threatened to sue me because I checked the box that said all was "true and correct". I counted that they claim to double check to make the LO was a real person and they did not do anything to check if I was or was not a real LO. They claimed they were going to change their vetting procedures. Evidently they have not done so.

    Karen Deis, www.MortgageCurrentcy.com
  • SBHarkness | | 06 Dec 2014, 09:43 AM Agree 0
    Dear Karen Deis,

    Zillow has been a sore spot with me from day one and I am just a mortgage lender. I would be outraged if an agent called trying to extort advertising monies from me for the promise of business. First off, I teach Realtors at "NO CHARGE/NO EXPECTATIONS of future business" how to use their own listings to generate lead pages to fill their marketing funnel. Zillow is a parasitic company that would quickly go away if Realtors stopped allowing their listings to be marketed on Zillow! I inform agents that ask me to participate why they allow their hard work (their listings) to be used by a company that steals the leads that should be theirs and sells them back to them at an outrageous price? Good lord you can use a product like Lead Pages and set this up with a few clicks of a mouse. What I am finding is that many realtors are STUCK in this old mind set that things have to be done a certain way, and this way is the only way. The problem for them is the Millennial generation does not do business that way. In fact, I am finding the best student Realtor's are the ones that are relatively new to the business but have a background of using social media. I show these young agents a few things, and they immediately understand the potential and take the baton and run with it. The tech savvy experienced agents are the ones that really benefit from this and you wouldn't catch a one of them on Zillow. I would also like just touch on the problems Zillow causes the listing agents with their Zestimates. I would like to see the algorithm they use to determine value because they are mostly always way to high and sometimes buy several hundred thousand dollars. It must be horrid for a Listing agent who has done a comprehensive market analysis complete with heat map of the area to tell a prospective seller their house is worth "insert value here" only to be immediately told by the Seller, "oh no, Zillow says our home is worth way more than that!" That would be a very difficult objection to overcome because Zillow has done such a good job marketing themselves as the expert in all things Real Estate. In fact, there are very smart people at Zillow and other places working very hard on an "application" that will send realtors the way of the travel agent, and stockbroker. If you believe otherwise you're living a fantasy.
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