Zillow’s “Make Me Move” listings are a great way for homeowners to test-market their properties to potential buyers. They are free and anonymous, but the service does have some significant limitations. Read on to learn the pros and cons of this popular feature.
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What Is a Zillow Make Me Move Listing?
A Make Me Move posting has many features of a For Sale By Owner (FSBO) listing on any real estate platform. The seller creates a listing with address, description, photo, and asking price.
There is also phone number and other contact information prospective buyers can use to reach the home sellers. There is no real estate agent information, like any FSBO.
One difference is that the listing is anonymous. Sellers don’t need to identify themselves by name, although they will include their addresses.
Purposes of Make Me Move
Zillow’s Make Me Move is used primarily as a way to test the real estate market and see if a buyer will bite at a given price. Because it’s free, anonymous, and doesn’t require signing an agent listing agreement, there’s less commitment.
Homeowners using Make Me Move don’t even have to put a For Sale sign in their front yards. For people who don’t care for inquiries from curious neighbors, this can be a real plus.
Also, if a Make Me Move poster decides to officially list it later on as a FSBO or with an agent, it’s easy. All in all, there’s not much hassle and a reasonable chance to get useful information.
There’s also the possibility that an eager buyer will agree to pay the asking price. Since a Make Me Move listing doesn’t require a listing agent, the seller saves on half the commission.
If the buyer is represented by a buyer’s agent, however, the seller will usually be asked to pay that portion of the commission. Commissions are negotiable. But half of a standard 6 percent commission is 3 percent.
Drawbacks to Make Me Move
One of the appeals to Make Me Move is that a seller can prospect for buyers without having to list with an agent. However, agents see Make Me Move as an excellent way to prospect for listings.
You’ll get phone calls
This means using Make Me Move to offer your home will generate a flood of calls from agents seeking to list it. If the objective is to avoid having to deal at all with agents, using Make Me Move will probably backfire. To be fair, however, this is true of any FSBO listing on any site. It may be more true on Zillow, however.
This is because the company makes most of its money by charging agents to use the site’s advanced features. Make Me Move may be as much a lead-generating tool for listing agents as an offer-generating tool for sellers.
Listings only appear on Zillow
Also, Zillow is the only listing site that has Make Me Move. Make Me Move postings don’t appear on other sites such as Realtor.com or the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS.)
This fact is probably the biggest drawback to the Zillow platform. Zillow is a popular service. But it’s only one of many online tools home buyers may use to search for a property.
Buyers may not see the listing
To make things worse, buyers have to opt to include Make Me Move listings in their search results. This means many buyers on Zillow won’t see the listing. Ultimately, Make Me Move is probably not as likely to produce a quality offer as a regular listing.
This is true whether the regular listing is a FSBO or through an agent. One problem is that buyers who are serious want to deal with sellers who are serious. Make Me Move is seen – probably correctly – as more of a tool to gauge interest than to sincerely offer a property for sale.
Buyers filter out Make Me Move
Many buyers will choose not to see Make Me Move listings on Zillow. They naturally would rather see properties are actively being marketed by at least somewhat motivated buyers.
Another problem is that the premise of the service is that the seller is seeking an offer that he or she can’t turn down. All else equal, that means an offer with a high price. Obviously, paying more than local market value doesn’t appeal to many buyers.
How Make Me Move Works
The process of listing your home via Make Me Move is fairly simple and quick. Here are the steps to getting it online:
- Create a Zillow profile. If you already have a profile, log in to the site.
- On the menu at the top, locate the “Sell” tab.
- Hover your mouse over the “Sell” tab. You don’t need to click on the tab.
- In the second column, “Selling Options,” click on the “Post For Sale by Owner” link.
- On the screen that follows, click the “Make Me Move” tab.
- Enter street address and other location information in the boxes. Click “Continue.”
- On the next screen, enter the price that will “Make You Move!”
- Upload at least one photo.
- Add home facts and additional information about the home.
- Enter your contact information.
The next thing you have to do is wait. At this point all you have is a draft listing. Zillow has to verify Make Me Move listings before actually posting them.
According to Zillow, a team reviews the listing to verify it. As part of this, a Make Me Move poster will receive an automated phone call and answer a series of questions.
Assuming the verification goes well, the property will start showing up in Make Me Move searches. This can take up to 72 hours, according to Zillow. Until it’s verified, the property status shows as off market.
Once a listing has been submitted, it can’t be changed until it’s verified. After it’s verified, Make Me Move posters can edit the listing to update price and other details.
To cancel a Make Me Move posting, posters have to contact Zillow customer care. Then they have to submit a request to cancel the posting. Apparently, there is no way to cancel the posting without contacting a customer service representative.
If you’re not really serious about selling, Make Me Move can quickly and easily present your property to the market. You won’t have to think much about the sale price or sign with an agent.
A serious seller would be more likely to analyze the market to select a price at or below the market price. Then the seller would market the property through various listing sites, a yard sign and other methods.
This approach is more likely to generate lots of interest from multiple buyers. And that increases the chance of multiple offers and a higher selling price.
Admittedly, this requires a lot more time, study, and effort. For most sellers, it also means listing with an agent and paying a listing agent commission if the property sells. However, it could produce a higher sale price in less time.
And if avoiding listing with an agent is the main appeal of Make Me Move, there are other ways to do a FSBO. An official FSBO listing would have many of the advantages of Make Me Move, without some of the disadvantages.
For instance, a seller could list on Zillow as a FSBO. This would mean that buyers would see the listing even if they had opted not to view Make Me Move Listings.
A regular FSBO would avoid having to pay the listing agent commission. It would not, however, eliminate all the calls from agents seeking to list the property.
Another option is to list with a discount brokerage. Discount brokers will list properties for as little as 1 percent of the sale price. Some charge flat fees that are even lower.
The advantage of listing with a licensed broker is that the listing will appear on the local Multiple Listing Service. MLS is the most widely used online tool for many brokers. This results in greater exposure from more interested buyers.
Should You Use Zillow’s Make Me Move Feature?
Adding up all the pluses and minuses of Make Me Move, it appears to be a marketing tool that can’t hurt and might even help. It’s not the most effective way to present a property to potential buyers. But it requires less commitment and cost than anything else.
If nothing else, a Zillow Make Me Move listing might let a homeowner ease into the selling process. Buyers may not flock to the posting offering to buy at the asking price. But it could lead to a more systematic and successful selling effort down the road.[ratings]