Today, many of my clients, sellers and buyer, ‘refer’ to Zillow or Trulia to try and pick up some knowledge about their local real estate market. I agree that both of these sites provide great information about the buying or selling process, but relying on these two sites for accurate, real time, data on the local real estate market is a mistake.
According to a recent study, 36% of the ‘active’ listings posted on Zillow were actually no longer available. It was 37% for Trulia. These properties were either already under contract, sold, expired, or withdrawn and were no longer actively for sale. For buyers, this means you are excited about a property that is no longer available. Ever been told you can’t have something you really want? It sucks! For sellers, only the atual ‘sold’ price provides a true picture of what buyers, lenders, and appraisers, are giving for the home. Just because something was listed for $200,000, doesn’t mean it sold, or appraised, for that.
In addition, this study found that Zillow only contained 79% of the local market’s active listings anyway. It was 81% for Trulia. Hey buyer! Do you want to know about all the homes available for sale that match your family’s needs, or just 80% of them? Don’t worry about the other 20%. I bet they weren’t that good of a value anyway. Oh yeah, seller, don’t worry about the 20% fewer buyers who know about your house. I’m sure that won’t affect your sales price or time on market much, well maybe by 20%, but that isn’t much, right? (20% x $200,000 = $40,000 less). Chump Change!
Because Zillow and Trulia are third party, for profit, companies and not real estate firms or agents, they can not provide all the current, real time, information concerning active and sold homes. Only a local agent, as a member of the local Multiple Listing Service, can provide real time, accurate date concerning your local market. And local can mean your specific neighborhood. Each neighborhood is different in style, in demand, in age, etc and each neighborhood has a different real estate market. Just because a home only 1 mile away sold for X dollars, doesn’t mean your home will sell for X dollars.
Buying, or selling, a home is a family’s single largest financial decision and has great influence on all aspects of the family and its members. Before making such a huge decision, I recommend that you get ALL the information….All the CORRECT and ACCURATE information, so you can make an educated decision. Don’t make a decision based upon speculation, or partial data. This could cost you greatly in the form of higher days on market, and incorrect ‘most likely sales price’.