How frustrating it must be for you…You are online shopping for a home, you merely want the facts, possibly review a few pictures and then when you finally find a home you like…you click on the ‘agent contact’ link to hear that the home you like is either not for sale, or it’s already pending!
Yes, 80% (My slight exaggeration) of the properties listed are actually for sale and currently available, although I am here to tell you that many of the calls I receive from my online advertising ads on these sites tend to be on homes that are sold, or no longer available.
As a real estate Broker, I have my own frustrations with these sites, but let’s not discuss that in this BLOG…at least not today.
Back to your experiences…Yes, the real estate market is still moving at record pace even in December, but that’s not the worst of it! Many buyers start their search on Trulia.com and/or Zillow.com hoping to find a great property. While these sites are a good place to start, I need to be clear…they are not 100% accurate! That’s right, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but these sites list anything ‘breathing’ potential real estate.
Consumers and real estate agents alike can list properties as for-sale-by-owners, coming soon homes, pre-foreclosure homes, pre-market homes, rentals, even a category titled ‘Make me move’. Little regulation goes into the monitoring of these homes and while some homes have sold or even been removed from the market, the sites do not delete them until they expire (sometimes 60 days after entry) and the agent or seller actually corrects the edit. (Which is rare!)
Yes, it’s obvious that these sites make millions from real estate agents in advertising every month, so having unlimited data only makes sense to them! It’s also a must for agents to join and wait for prospective buyers to click on their name, new listing or profile.
So is it the best place to shop for a home? or is there another way?
I’m here to explain the process so that you not only get the facts, but you avoid the pitfalls I find in visiting the wrong websites!
Because over 97% of all real estate sales happen from a Realtor or real estate agent, it makes perfect sense to only shop on the site that delivers the most current and factual data.
Agents across the country share their listings by using an area MLS (Multiple Listing Service). The data is then linked directly to Realtor.com, the ONLY site that represents current date directly from the agents. It’s important to know that you can also find the exact same date from my personal website and any other real estate company website that is affiliated with the area you are searching in.
Realtor.com as well as the other real estate company sites update once a day from the area MLS. The other (popular) sites I mentioned previously (Trulia and Zillow) are fed date from the real estate companies that actually listed the properties. so the turnaround time for delivery of ‘first looks, and of course edits in status can take up to 72 hours at times.
So the tip of the day and lesson for the person wanting fresh, accurate data is to visit Realtor.com or sites like this that are linked directly to the MLS.
The other topic of importance is how one goes about finding the right agent…Not all agents are experienced. There is a difference, believe me! So don’t just click on the agent button to the right of the house pictures when you see a home you are interested in! Do your homework. Interview agents, ask questions about their experience and time on the job. So many buyers take this lightly and yet it’s your real estate agents skill that protects you and makes certain you don’t miss the important facts when you buy or sell.
As a buyer, the seller pays the agents commission, so it’s not going to cost you more to work with the right agent. But it could cost you thousands of dollars to work with a part-time agent or an agent with little concern for your welfare.
For a list of questions to ask an agent when interviewing, contact me today. I would be happy to email it to you for free. This way you will have solid questions to help you decipher their skills so that you can buy or sell with confidence.