Home Owner’s Associations sometimes get a bad reputation as being the...
More often than not, buying a home is going to be the most expensive purchase of your life. You want to find the perfect place for you and your family, and you want to make informed choices. If you’re like many Americans, you peek at what’s available in your desired location via online sites such as Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor. However, doing this can sabotage your efforts and good intentions.
If it’s a real estate site on the Internet, it must be accurate … right? Wrong! These sites are often filled with errors. Zillow and Trulia don’t always verify the information they post. They don’t consistently update the listings. You might see a house listed that seems out of your price range, so you dismiss it, not knowing that the price may have been reduced. Also, many of the homes on these sites have already been sold or are in escrow. Sometimes, the houses are not even real. When you go to the realtor to request a showing, you discover the truth — many times blaming the realtor for using “bait-and-switch” tactics.
Zillow and Trulia sell advertising to realtors on their web sites. This means that the agent’s name that appears next to a particular listing is not necessarily the listing agent, but rather the name of a realtor who has paid for an online ad. In other words, there might be several agent names and pictures displayed next to the listing that you are interested in and some of the agents have nothing to do with the listing.
In addition, the home value estimates you look at online can be way off because Zillow and Trulia don’t actually send professional real estate brokers/agents out to the homes. They instead gather information about the prices and number of houses for sale from publically accessible county tax assessor and plug it into a formula that gives them a “guesstimate.” These inaccurate figures give you a distorted picture of the neighborhood you’re interested in.
What is the solution? Find a local real estate agency you trust. Only a realtor can give you accurate, up-to-date listing information. They have access to the MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which updates information about every 15 minutes. It can take MLS information 10 days to hit Zillow and Trulia, so the most desirable properties could already be unavailable if you rely solely on these sites for listings.
Reputation and reliability mean everything to real estate agents, and that’s why they are your best advocates. They know the local trends and communities you want to live in, and they want to help you find the house of your dreams. Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor and other real estate listing platforms are national sites that can’t possibly have the insight of a local realtor.
Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor give you an overall understanding of the market in areas you’re interested in. These sites give a general idea of local school districts or types of homes in a community, and will also tell you the recent sale price of homes in the neighborhoods you’re interested in.
If you want reliable information and up-to-date listings, contact your local realtor. While Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor can be a good starting pint, by no means do they eliminate the need for a local realtor.