On Joining Zillow…


What you are about to read may very well blow a few minds across the real estate Internet space. Or not. We’re about to find out…


Earlier today, I accepted a full-time position with Zillow.

No, really. Soon I will be Zillow’s Director of Industry Outreach & Social Media.

Interesting, isn’t it?

Why? When? Where? What?

Why? In a nutshell, because I love a challenge, and I love working with ridiculously smart people. And trust me, this will be a challenge and Zillow is full of ridiculously smart people.

When? Soon, very soon. There isn’t an official start date yet because much needs to be done around here first. Primarily, the lovely Francy Thompson, Master of the Real Estate Universe and Queen of Brokerage Operations is going to be adding, “Designated Broker, Thompson’s Realty” to her job title.

I can’t work for Zillow full-time and be the DB of Thompson’s Realty, there just aren’t enough hours in the day. So Francy (who really has been “The Boss” since Day 1) is going to put even more work on her plate.

She’s a tough chick, she can handle it. Last night she enrolled in broker licensing classes (God help her) on the three-week plan. By the end of April she will have a freshly minted Arizona Broker’s License.

This isn’t a good time to get me started on everything that is wrong with being able to get a real estate broker’s license in three weeks — and actually, believe it or not, you can do it in 9 days. But people would die if she tried to complete it in 9 days. Hence the three-week plan. Here’s a post I wrote about my experience in broker licensing classes over 4.5 years ago.  Whoops, I digress.

Francy will be the broker, Thompson’s Realty won’t really change for the foreseeable future, and I will be doing something completely different.

Where? My job at Zillow will require some travel, and a lot of time in Seattle (where Zillow is headquartered). For a long time now I’ve wanted to try out the “urban living” lifestyle – living right smack in the middle of a thriving and vibrant downtown community — and now is my chance. I’ll be renting an apartment in downtown Seattle (I’ve found several possibilities on, ahem, Zillow.com), and Francy will make frequent visits there and I will make frequent visits back here. This will be a big change for us, but we are both really excited about the opportunity.

What? Like “What the heck is he thinking?” or “What the heck will he be doing?” What I’m thinking is I have an opportunity to work with an amazingly talented team in a sector of the real estate space that has always fascinated me. While it may seem odd to some to give up control of a successful real estate brokerage, sometimes you have to take a big leap into something different and just follow your passions.

I have always loved education and training, and if you’ve followed any of my travels about the interwebs it should be no surprise that I am a bit of a  social / new media enthusiast. I think — strike know — that I can help Zillow progress, improve and grow as well as help agents all across the country understand and develop their business. And Zillow and those agents can help me do the same.

But, it’s Zillow

Believe me, I know what some agents think of Zillow. I got yelled at on the NAR Annual trade show floor for wearing a Zillow t-shirt (which BTW is too small now. Wonder if I can get a new one? Or a hoodie!). Granted, I have freely admitted that I don’t fully understand the fear of Zillow some seem to have (I wrote this almost five years ago. And this, over five years ago). I think it’s mostly the unknown. Or the misunderstood. So what say we try to fix that?

I have written about Zillow since they launched. I’ve met many people that work (or worked) for Zillow and consider some of them good friends. So why not join the Zillow team and see if we can’t just change some perceptions and help out some agents and brokers? I think we can. And I can’t wait to start.

The bottom line is this — I’ve pondered this change long and hard and decided why not follow my passions and see where they take me? Life is a journey, and this is just one more step along the path.

Mark Twain may have said it best…

20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the one’s you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.

It’s time to explore, dream and discover!

As always, your thoughts and comments are appreciated. Don’t be shy!

More here:

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Zillow Blog





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About the Author
Jay Thompson

I'm a real estate broker in Phoenix, Arizona and the publisher of the Phoenix Real Estate Guy blog. I tend to drive too fast and scream at the University of Texas and Denver Broncos football teams. My two kids are smarter than most adults I know and my wife is simply amazing.

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