Today I’d like to discuss the problem with third-party real estate websites, such as Zillow and Trulia. Clients often mention these to me, but they don’t always know that there are some big issues that make the resources provided by these websites inaccurate.
These sites are often missing a lot of important information. Many real estate brokerages do not share their information with online companies, so when you’re looking online, you’re missing out on many active properties that are available.
Zillow and Trulia are owned by the same company—people tell me they check both sites to make sure they don’t miss anything, but unfortunately, neither one has good information to begin with.
Using local real estate resources is by far a better option for receiving accurate information about homes, prices, and available listings. The information an agent receives is shared through the multiple listing service (MLS), which is then shared with Realtor.com, which then finally makes its way to sites like Zillow and Trulia. This is another reason why these companies are inaccurate—they’re the last to get any information.
These sites can also be riddled with scams—the companies confess that they let essentially anyone create accounts, which includes people who create dishonest listings with the hope of scamming you. Your real estate agent can always verify whether something is legitimate or not. As these sites admit that their information can be downright wrong, you always need to double check anything you find when using them. You should also be cautious when reading agent reviews—these can easily be falsified.
Finally, we have the Zestimates—home valuations made by Zillow. They have a disclaimer that only 63% of their valuations are accurate, and when they are, they’re only within 10% of the true value. In our real estate market, 10% is a lot of money.
The best way to avoid the inaccuracy that comes from third-party real estate websites is to find a local agent. I’d be more than happy to help you with any of your real estate needs, answer any questions you have, and provide you with further information. Feel free to reach out to me anytime. Until then, I look forward to hearing from you soon.