zillowZillow is expanding its services for real estate professionals today with a new offering that allows agents to list properties on the site before they enter the Multiple Listing Service. The offering — dubbed Coming Soon Listings — allows home sellers to gauge interest on their homes up to 30 days before they are placed on the market.

The service is available for free to Zillow Premier Agents and those brokerages that provide a direct feed to Zillow. Each listing can be pre-marketed for 30 days, and then extended for another 30 days. They will not exceed 60 days.

The company notes in a press release:

Similar to a Coming Soon sign in the yard of the physical property, displaying a home as Coming Soon on Zillow helps agents and their sellers gauge buyer interest and test the list price against current market conditions, and can help reduce the total time a home is on the market. It also provides unparalleled marketing exposure to the more than 81 million home shoppers who visit Zillow every month.

comingsoon-zillowThe tactic is an interesting one for Zillow, which has avoided competing directly with traditional brokerages. Zillow does offer the “Make Me Move” listing service, which allows home buyers to list properties on their own. The “Coming Soon” feature appears to be another way for Zillow to capitalize on its growing audience, which in April topped 79 million visitors and last month hit 81.5 million visitors.

Zillow is looking to bolster its ties to real estate companies, hiring former Move Inc. exec Errol Samuelson as chief industry development officer and joining the Real Estate Standards Organization earlier this year.

Even so, the company continues to battle perceptions in the real estate industry that it is an untrustworthy juggernaut, something that CEO Spencer Rascoff addressed during the company’s first quarter earnings call when he noted that Zillow is sometimes misperceived.

“What that means is teach those in the industry that we come in peace. That Zillow is a media company. We are not a brokerage. We are not a MLS. We do not compete with brokerages. We do not compete with MLSes. We sell ads. We don’t sell houses. That’s the number one goal of our industry relations efforts is just to explain what Zillow is, and what we are not, because there is a lot of disinformation that’s sown by people in the industry, and kind of a misunderstanding. So, that is goal number one.”

It will be interesting to see how the industry reacts to this latest move by Zillow. Wall Street seems to like it.

Shares of Zillow surged today, up more than four percent. The stock is now trading above $122, giving the Seattle online real estate company a market value of $4.9 billion. Here’s a closer look at Zillow’s Coming Soon feature.

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  • http://timandjeni.com/ Timothy Ellis

    Hah, judging from the reactions of agents in the comments on the Inman story about this new feature, I’m sure it will be quite popular.

    “This is bad. More confusion. More fraud. More headaches. Less control.”

    “…this is greasing the slide and creating a “tool” that will expedite and encourage [real estate agents] to make bad decisions.”

    “This is shameful…”

    “Zillow offers yet another “feature” to confuse and frustrate potential home buyers.”

    “Yet another can of worms opened for misconduct!”

    “This might be the worst thing in the most perfectly-packaged marketing material ever offered to a home seller.”

    I also really loved this bit from the Inman piece:

    To ensure that agents who upload coming soon listings to Zillow are on the right side of industry policies, Zillow requires agents to check a box that certifies that by uploading the ‘coming soon’ listing they are complying with the rules and regulations of their local MLS, local association of Realtors, their brokerage and their state’s licensing laws.

    Oooh… they have to check a box!

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