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There’s Still Life in the Market

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Commentary by Jorrit Van der Meulen

RISMEDIA, April 17, 2008-We’ve all read the bad news about our housing market. In fact, according to data from Zillow’s most recent Home Value Reports, home values continued to decline in Q4 2007 and one in three new homeowners (those who have bought in the last two years) now have negative equity in their homes-meaning that they owe more on their mortgage than their home is worth.

vandermeulen_jorrit.jpgSo, if you read the news, it’s no wonder things seem bleak right now. Yet, despite the compression on home values and sales volumes, people are still moving as they always will. People are changing jobs, getting married, starting families, becoming empty nesters, retiring…contributing to the millions of homes that are still selling each year. While homes aren’t flying off the market in a hot bidding frenzy, 2007 was still the fifth-best annual sales number on record. And that represents an important marketing opportunity.

Realogy Franchise Group President and CEO Alex Perriello recently told RISMedia that in order to show that homes are still selling, real estate professionals should be spending 20% of their marketing money to advertise their sold listings. Traditionally, this has meant sending postcards or keeping a “sold” sign up during the closing process.

Today, however, there’s now a new way to market successful closings. The newly launched Virtual Sold Sign program (VSS) on Zillow.com enables agents to place a “SOLD” sign, complete with their logo and contact information, on all of their past listings for free.

During a slow market, sellers need good agents more than ever. By participating in VSS, real estate professionals can demonstrate their success to the millions of potential buyers and sellers who are researching homes on Zillow each month.

Zillow.com receives 4 to 5 million users per month and has data on 80 million homes nationwide. In some markets, more than 90% of the homes (past listings) have been viewed on Zillow, which makes the VSS program a marketing vehicle that can pay dividends for decades-and, it’s free.

To find more information, visit www.zillowfeeds.com.

Jorrit Van der Meulen is vice president of partner relations at Zillow. For more information, please visit www.Zillow.com.

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