Today, Kuraishi owns 114 zip codes and is the No. 1 spender in the country on the site.
“It’s 2014, a new day and age, and people have less time; they want a tool to search for homes and look at photos, and do research on their own,” Kuraishi says. “Instead of walking into a car dealership and always having to hear, ‘do you need help?,’ you can shop at your leisure. Zillow keeps people from being harassed.”
Today, 95 percent of his marketing portfolio goes toward Zillow.
“I use some other sites, but I don’t believe the customer experience is as good,” he says. “The mobile products are better on Zillow, plus clients love the overall experience.”
Kuraishi’s favorite tool is Zillow Digs, which lets customers explore different rooms and home-design ideas. He also likes that you can add social media links and is a big fan of the reviews.
“Reviews are really important—good or bad—and I always make it a point to respond to all of them,” he says. “If you are building a team, you can give props to your agents, as well.”
With 42 agents under his guidance, Kuraishi feels Zillow has been instrumental in helping him build the perfect team. He gives out 1,500 leads per month to his agents and buys the best leads and cutting-edge technology.
“It has definitely helped me attract top agents to the brokerage,” he says.
Leslie Shafer, an agent with A-K Real Estate, recently celebrated her two-year anniversary in real estate, after a 15-year career in the hospitality industry.
“Zillow has been my main marketing strategy,” she says. “I signed up for my first zip code a year ago, and within 15 minutes, I had a phone call. Another came in the next day, and the commission from that one alone paid for everything.”
Today, she has four zip codes and is taking baby steps to grow even more, hoping to mature from a buyer’s agent to a listing agent.
“As I become more seasoned and successful, I look forward to adding more zip codes,” she says. “I appreciate the fact that reviews are so paramount. People look me up, see my reviews and closings and many times say to me, ‘I read your reviews and you seem like a good fit for us.’”
For that reason, Shafer makes sure that as soon as she closes on a property, she contacts her client and asks for a review.
“I tell them that my online presence means the world to me and just as they found me there, it will help others find me,” she says. “Zillow will send out a request for a review, but I also like to add a personal touch and send an email asking about their new home and tailoring it toward them.”
Before stumbling upon Zillow, Kuraishi’s marketing efforts proved much less fruitful. He started with the yellow pages in the beginning, moved on to some mailers and local ads, but never spent lots of money prior to Zillow for leads.