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Why These 19 Top Producers Don't Spend A Dime On Zillow


We asked top agents why they aren't spending their money on Zillow leads

Chris Smith

Chris Smith is a USA Today bestselling author and the co-founder of Curaytor, a social media, digital marketing and sales coaching company...

Chris Smith is a USA Today bestselling author and the co-founder of Curaytor, a social media, digital marketing and sales coaching company...

Oct 27 9 minutes read

We recently asked our clients who do not spend any money with Zillow to explain why they don't. Their answers were fascinating and we complied them all below for you to read as well.

Keep in mind that the average Curaytor client makes more than $400,000 a year compared to the average real estate agent who makes less than $50,000. So these answers came from some of the best agents in the business. 

"We haven’t used Zillow in ages. Even when we did, for a short time only, it brought zero ROI."

Elaine Comerford | Maison International

"Zillow’s Zestimate has been known for inaccuracies. Zillow sells your info, phone, email etc…"

Tracy Paulsen | Paulsen Home Group

"Not only are the Zestimates inaccurate they fill their pages with pre-foreclosures which create consumer confusion."

Patricia Meyer Smarto | Lakes Realty Group

"Thirty years and nary a dime on Zillow. Short answer is that I never needed the extra business myself. Once I had a team and they wanted the business I purchased leads because they were people ready to buy...for the most part. It seemed like Zillow was only out for Zillow and I was just a stepping stone for them if I bought their leads. Now we have other lead generation options including Accelerator. Much better."

Geoff Horrocks | Moments.RealEstate


"I have never utilized Zillow for leads. They have stalked me for years but always pitted local agents against each other saying that “agent x” (your competitor) is spending “this” much per month... you should spend MORE to get better exposure and take their leads. It was never about the agent winning, it was about the Zillow sales rep’s commission check." 

Angela Caliger | Surterre Properties

"Ok...real facts some of which I will shock people when I say this but great ROI and some I am embarrassed. In 2016, at the height of my team (myself, 1 full time buyers agent and 2 agents for only 2 months each) I was spending a significant amount per month with a lender contributing as well. That year Z was 49% of our business for 79 transactions, 52 that I did. ROI 5.3% (conversion rate) I was the best ISA you could ever want to hire. I would take the calls, loop my BA in on them, set the appointment and off they went. Mid year 2017, I fired my team - long story - and reduced my spend and the lender stopped funding, leads started getting poor, so I reduced it again. Fall 2019 the NEW IMPROVED program started and leads got worse. Dropped my spend again and got 3 leads per month with 0 conversion. Dropped to the minimum per month just to keep the coming soon and my premiere listing status. They dropped coming soon and I dropped them."

Robyn Burdett | Robyn Burdett Group

"I’ve never paid for leads with Zillow. Couldn’t wrap my head around why I’d pay triple what I was paying with and I valued other ways of getting leads than through something that cost too much and Zillow had no real skin in the game once they got my money so I passed my money to Curaytor instead."

Scott Bunn | The Scott Bunn Division


"I don’t spend money on Zillow because I want my marketing dollars to do 2 things. 

1. Attract people that I actually want to work with.

2. Advertise to people that I would like to work with someday but that aren’t quite ready to shop for homes or browse them online.

To me, Zillow is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get and I don’t want to spend tens of thousands of dollars on a box from Zillow. Only to find out that at the end of it all, I received a bunch of fruit chews and nuts. Why not just buy my own box of hand selected Caramels and Bordeaux? When you’re in control of your own advertising (chocolate selection) you’re just happier. And isn’t that what we are all trying to be?"

Geoff Goolsby | The Goolsby Group


"Because in this day and age we don’t need Zillow to generate business for us, we can be our own Zillow."

Susana Higuera Murphy | Alante Real Estate 


"I've never paid for Zillow leads...our area is too diverse and they just aren’t accurate."

Jenn Clements | Coastal Life Properties

"I stopped my spend this year in early March, business is down 20% YoY. However, Zillow was about 25-30% of my production. I’ve eliminated about $9,500 in monthly expenses and I’m about 16 months into a long play on Facebook marketing which is starting to have a noticeable effect."

Mark Novak | Mark’s Home Team

"I haven't spent money on Zillow in years. We use Curaytor and some other platforms for our outbound marketing."

William Tong | Golden Land Investments and Financial


"We've never spent with them. Zillow does a great job attracting consumers to their site so our thinking has always been that if we create something on our site that Z can't match, we can attract consumers to our site instead. We focus our spend on our listings and on branding (local events, sponsorships, t-shirts, etc)."

Billy Wemlinger | The Parrett Group


"We purchased Zillow leads one time several years ago for a few months. The “leads” we felt were unreliable. I also don’t like what Zillow is doing to the industry. They have access to massive amounts of data that we sometimes unknowingly provide to them and over time makes our services less valuable. For instance, if you utilize dotloop, Zillow knows what properties have offers on them and the amounts of those offers even if those offers aren’t accepted as we are typing the data into our contracts. They know our clients phone numbers and emails that we type into those programs. They can then match that information from dotloop to the same email addresses that people have registered with on Zillow. We as agents are updating our Zillow profiles with sold properties and sold amounts which is making their estimates more accurate as time goes on. Street Easy is basically the MLS in NYC from what I understand which is also owned by Zillow. They now purchase properties without using the services of agents that have paid for them from the beginning. They take our data from our listings and sales and then sell our leads on our properties to other agents. It just blows my mind that our industry continues to feed them our data."

Robert Gordon | Inglenook Realty


"Not a penny. 8 leads a month who just want you to open the door for them at $1200? We aren’t door openers. I told Zillow to remove my phone number from their database or I’d report them if they called me about available zip codes in my area."

Dan Chin | Dan Chin Homes


"I will never purchase “retail leads” from Zillow. It is not fiscally responsible to my business, the lead quality is weak and poor at best. The cost does not deliver a profitable ROI at the end of the day. When you generate your own leads you will have a better ROI, higher conversion rates, your team will have a more positive experience dialing for dollars, and it will make your team realize their goals faster!! Empower your team by generating good quality buyers and sellers. Quality over quantity!"

Kim Powell Anselmo | The Kimberly John Group

"I used Zillow for a few years and the leads were good at first. The ROI was good too. Then the leads got worse, ROI wasn’t there and Zillow started competing with me for Sellers too. About that time along came CURAYTOR! It was an awesome feeling cutting off Z and reinvesting that money into a tool that wanted to help me CRUSH it!"

Mickey Hyams | The Get Mickey Team

"I advertised with Zillow when I first became an agent 10 years ago because I needed leads, no matter how poor they were. A very small percentage actually closed, but for the first few years it was worth it, especially because my market is a high price point. But the leads became weaker, and my sales record, reputation, and thanks to Curaytor - marketing that attracts - became stronger, so at that point it no longer became the best use of my time or marketing dollars."

Naomi Selick | Douglas Elliman 

"Because I have Accelerator!!!"

Roger Sullivan | Complete Home Realty

Want an alternative to Zillow leads? 

Curaytor can help. Our new Accelerator leads are 🔥.

Learn More
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