Breaking News: Zillow Buys Trulia in $3.5 Billion Acquisition

What would you do if you had $3.5 Billion in your pocket?   For Zillow, it’s buying up Trulia.  The Boards of Directors of both companies have approved the transaction, which is expected to close in 2015.
Zillow-Trulia 1
Both websites have been growing in market share lately.

For better or worse, Zillow and Trulia have been affecting the way consumers buy and sell real estate. Now the entire RE community has to wonder what this means for agents and brokers nationwide.

The combined company plans to maintain both the Zillow and Trulia consumer brands, offering buyers, sellers, homeowners and renters access to vital information about homes and real estate for free, and providing advertising and software solutions designed to help real estate professionals grow their business.

We think there’s a slew of new services the combined companies will start offering – from issuing mortgages – to settlement services – to even providing an ecommerce suite for direct by owner sales.

But what does all this mean for those of us dealing in real estate?  Many RE professionals, such as San Diego realtor Jim Klinge, are concerned that:

Smaller businesses will suffer. The local associations of realtors and the MLS companies who have feasted on having realtors paying dues regardless of production will suffer – and should die off completely if 20% of the realtors are doing 80% of the business.  They can’t survive an 80% reduction in dues.

Those not paying in will perish. When consumers see that their agent-friend down the street hasn’t sold a house in six months – they will hesitate.  The Zillow advertising will encourage you to select one of their top producers instead (the ones paying for advertising).

While the final impact won’t be known until the acquisition closes in 2015, this may turn out to be one of the most beneficial or detrimental changes made throughout this year.

Do you think Zillow buying Trulia will help or hurt our industry? What are your thoughts?

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