If you’re just beginning your foray into real estate - maybe thinking about relocating to a new city, or potentially selling your current home - perhaps you’ve browsed a national real estate website, such as Zillow or Trulia. You can quickly get a general picture of what’s available by using these sites and begin to get a feel for the real estate market in that area. The Buss McKinley Group utilizes these national sites when listing our customers’ properties, as we’re aware of the window shopping benefits of having homes on these sites in addition to listing them on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). If you’re serious about your real estate transaction, however, national sites can lead to needless frustration for both buyers and sellers.
Inaccurate Information Wastes Buyers' Time
Oftentimes, a client will browse Zillow or another similar site to search available properties in lieu of using the MLS. To be fair, these websites are beautifully designed, and offer multiple links to what appear to be available properties. The problem, however, is that these websites are oftentimes inaccurate. Properties statuses can be outdated, showing as available when they are not. I have had multiple clients email me a list of addresses of properties they found online and were interested in, not even one of which was for sale. Also, some sites have a feature that attempts to anticipate future foreclosures, and shows those to buyers as potentially available. On top of being embarrassing for the current owners of the property when true, this information can be wildly inaccurate. Additionally, listings pop up as suggestions for you, but unfortunately, it's NOT because they’re within the parameters you’ve set. Oftentimes these are paid ads that the site is steering toward buyers who are looking for something entirely different. It’s likely that you don’t want to waste precious time searching for homes that aren’t in your budget, are in the wrong area, etc. And about the area? These national sites can't tell you much about a city or neighborhood.
Specialized Searches Save Time and Reduce Frustration
When a buyer works with us as their realtor, we set you up on a search using the MLS. This site has the most updated information available on all the properties currently for sale. We set up a personalized search for you on the MLS, which is drastically more accurate than the national sites. On the MLS, realtors are required to update their listings, and no detail about an available property is spared. Additionally, the MLS is ad-free. There are no pop-up ads or requests to give away your email address to yet another website. When you call us asking about a house you saw on the MLS search we set you up with, you can be assured that the home is still on the market, and the description and features that describe the property are accurate.
"Zestimates" Mislead Sellers
Sellers can run into pitfalls with national real estate sites as well. Namely, a tool known as Zestimate has led to frustration with homeowners who’ve been led to believe their property is far more or far less than what it is likely to sell for. Zestimates are estimates, as the name suggests, using an algorithm that includes exactly zero input about the condition of a property. It uses comparable sales from preset radius around the location and adjusts for square footage and lot size. If you are in any area where there is low turnover, or if there are a variety of ages of homes, or if multiple builders shared in the development in your part of town, it is likely your Zestimate is not accurate. If you’re truly interested in what your home’s value may be, we can provide you with a free market analysis. It includes accurate, up-to-date information about recent home sales in your neighborhood, and a like for like comparison method.
Realtors Provide Accurate Market Information
Whether you’re buying or selling, your best bet for accurate information is to contact a licensed realtor. At the Buss McKinley Group we’re happy to discuss the local real estate market with you, even if you’re still in the “window shopping” stage. Give us a call at (805) 328-3799 and let our expertise help you with your real estate needs.
Written By Nelson Buss