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South Florida brokers skeptical of Zillow deal

by Timothy Inklebarger

The news that Zillow is purchasing ShowingTime for $500 million sent shockwaves through the residential real estate industry in February.

The online scheduling platform reports that nearly 1 million agents use ShowingTime in North America, and the app facilitated more than 50 million showings in 2020. That’s why so many traditional brokers now worry that Zillow will collect ShowingTime users’ information and then use it to help edge them out of the market.

South Florida Agent readers responded to our survey about the mega-deal, with 88% saying they use the app, and nearly a third (30%) saying they’ll drop it. The majority of users (52%) said they are uncertain whether they’ll continue using ShowingTime, while the remaining 18% said they will keep using it.

Of the users who said they’ll find another method of scheduling showings, the vast majority (89%) were unsure how they would replace the app. Some respondents said they’d do things the old-fashioned way — one user said they’d pick up the phone, and another noted, “I am concerned that Zillow will try to change the market from Realtor-based to for-sale-by-owner based.”

Zillow said in February that purchasing the app would help increase tour volume and transactions for its agents, adding that many of them already use ShowingTime. The company also noted that ShowingTime would “maintain its existing data privacy policies.”

Despite the public statement, Zillow has some heavy lifting to do to develop trust among its users. Most users (87%) said they are concerned that ShowingTime will share their information with Zillow.

One ShowingTime user gave this dour estimation of the deal: “Zillow has been a slow-growing cancer that will eventually kill the National Association of Realtors and real estate industry as we know it. Stock tip: buy Zillow stock. According to stock market analysts, ‘Zillow will be the Amazon of housing.’”

Another added: “Zillow is taking over, little by little.”

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