The Truliaâ€“Zillow merger could put the squeeze on real estate brokers
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In the longer term, however, Perlson believes a showdown between the brokers and the aggregators is inevitable. "Everyone uses Zillow and Trulia, but there is a lot of grumbling. If these two combine, the only way they can really grow would be to increase their prices, and I think that would definitely push the big brokers, especially ones that have a dominant position in certain cities, to stop feeding them their listings." That kind of conflict would have a direct impact on the average consumer, who would have to search each broker's site individually. "It would definitely create a lot of confusion in the market, because you would have multiple listings that don't agree, out-of-date offers, and lots of properties that would no longer appear when you search on the big aggregator sites," says Perlson.
Some smaller realtors, on the other hand, worry that a combined Zillow-Trulia might have enough leverage to put them out of business. "We are not a union and there is no real leadership among realtors. We are independent contractors spread all over the map, literally and figuratively, so trying to get us to rally for the cause will be met with indifference,"Â wrote Jim Klinge, a veteran of Century 21 and RE/MAX. He sees the Zillow-Trulia giant becoming the de-facto hub for the business, raising prices and eventually implementing a ranking system that would result in only the top-performing realtors surviving. "It should clear out the realtor population within a year or two, and turn upside-down the local associations, MLS [multiple listing service] companies, and the top-heavy big corporations who own real estate franchises."
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