The Secret Truth about Trulia.com and Zillow.com Revealed

As a Licensed REALTOR in Florida, I Utilize marketing sites like Trulia.com and Zillow.com among many other marketing tools.  Each of them has their place in the market as tools to advertise properties as well as an agent.  The Johnson Group uses these sites to represent sellers and don’t heavily recommend them to buyers for a home search.  We are featured agents in several Listing Syndication partners, and work with many more like Point2Homes and Homes.com, however these are better tools available for a Buyer.  For a buyer, you are STILL MISSING A MULTITUDE OF HOMES AVAILABLE ON THE MARKET.  If you want to be your best advocate, use a site that works for YOU!

Internet Data Exchange

The Secret relies heavily on IDX or Internet Data Exchange.  There are a few different ways that a property’s information may be posted to public sites.  The first is a manual entry from sites including tourfactory.com which hosts our virtual tours currently or Postlets.com. When I hit a button, all of the info that was manually entered is sent to a multitude of other sites of my choosing.  These websites at Oodle.com or Blockshopper.com have a plethora of data coming in from all over.  As a buyer, it is hard to determine which data is correct, thorough, and current.  Some of the manually entered sites serve a great purpose, some not so much.  For instance, in manually entered IDX systems, it is possible for an agent to have an “ACTIVE” listing available on Trulia or Zillow Long after it is sold.  It is also possible on Zillow for a seller to enter information about a home which may or may not be relevant to the market.  As a Buyer, is this something you are looking for?

Where is the Data coming from?  Buyer Beware~

It is much like Craig’s List.  Johnson Group utilizes Craig’s List and we agree it has a place in marketing.   Please be VERY careful with Craig’s List, as ANYONE can post to it.  In the past I have found many properties that Johnson Group is responsible for on Craig’s List posted without permission and with incorrect info.  We have found investors advertising properties that they do not own.  We have discovered listings with incorrect list pricing and EVEN listed as rentals when they most definitely were not.  Beware of Scams.

The Mid Florida Regional MLS IDX System

The Mid Florida Regional Multiple Listing Service performs for a Listing Agent.  When the Johnson Group or any agent enters the info into the MLS, there are a few boxes they have to be checked as a Yes/No.  The first questions unclude does the Listing Agent want to syndicate with the Internet and with IDX .  As a Buyer or Seller you would say “of course you do!”  To A Listing Broker This is MUCH different than the manually entered IDX above.  IDX through the MLS allows 3rd party software to feed the information directly from the MLS.  That means on a site like OrlandoHomesfl.com, the information is taken directly from the ACTUAL listing on the MLS and is current up to 24 hours.  Every morning the MLS releases the data once again and updates all of the sites that the BROKER gives permission for the data to be distributed.  As a participated agent in the MLS, if the Listing agent clicks that button when listing, OrlandoHomesFl.com automatically receives the data.   An estimated 99% of listings are available on OrlandoHomesFL.com. The ones that aren’t available to us may be considered a pocket listing with an agent perhaps only wanting to sell it themselves are already have a buyer.  Never really understood why an agent wouldn’t share their listings since the entire point of LISTING is to MARKET the property for Top Dollar.  If you are worried about the situation of not seeing EVERY Real Estate agent listed property you may contact the Johnson Group as we have ways to correct that situation through our VIP buyers programs.

What Happens Next?

After an agent DOES hit the IDX syndication button while listing a property on MLS, for Trulia, Zillow, or Homes.com to receive the information, some additional steps need to be taken by the Listings agent’s Broker.  A listing Agents Broker must allow a 3rd party site to SEND the information to Oodles, or Google or YahooRealEstate .com through accounts like Superlative or TopProducer.com, or many other choices. Many are free tools to the brokers and Agents that work like Craig’s list.  Point2Homes.com use to be a free service but has since started charging fees to agents.  ListHub is a great tool free for Brokers to use.  Regardless of whom you chose as your syndication partner, though those sites the agent now has a choice of which companies to syndicate with.  Does the agent want to send to Trulia, Zillow?  Check Box for yes, leave blank for no.  Is the Listing to be shared with Homefinder.com, FrontDoor.com, Cyberhomes.com?   As a Buyer or Seller you ask “Why not?”! As a Savvy buyer or seller you would think that any agent or broker would WANT To do this.  Well unfortunately, not ever listing is syndicated.

The Listing Was Selected to be Syndicated- Now what?

When Johnson Group syndicates with one of these 3rd party sites, within 24 hours Mid Florida Regional MLS sends the info to my IDX company sends the listing information to sites like Homes.com or Trulia.  Even though we pay a subscription for the sellers we represent to have their Properties Featured, it STILL can take 3-5 business days for a property to be listed on one of these sites.  With the BEST properties priced right now selling within the first 72 hours, how doe searching on Truila.com or Zillow.com help you as a buyer?  With the 3-5 days for it to post, Johnson Group as a listing agent could have it under contract before a syndication company ever gets it live.  And Remember, if it took 3-5 days for the listing to go Active, how many listings as a buyer are you looking at which are no longer available?  It takes another 3-5 days for the listing to come back off the market.  Zillow’s sold information is pulled directly from tax records regarding sale price; THAT info can be 6 months out of date.  Perhaps that doesn’t bother you much, but if you are buying a property, I would think you would want real time data.

Why wouldn’t a Property Want to Be syndicated?

$$$$.  Trulia and Zillow ARE free sites to the consumer, but cost the Listing agents money to be featured.  Pay close attention to the websites of you go do a search. When you “contact an agent regarding this site” you aren’t always getting the listing agent.  For the listing agent to get their name exclusive on these sites, it costs the agents marketing Dollars to do so.  When my career in real Estate began, the average Real Estate agent made $12000 a year.  You have seen my picture, I’m not THAT old.

More Great News

One of my Favorite Sites for the content it provides is REALTOR.com.  A lot of sites pull data from REALTOR.com in an effort to have all of the listings available.  Unfortunately this is another Check box provided by the Listing Agent. Yes or No can be selected to syndicate with REALTOR.com. The last 2 options any Listing agent in the Mid Florida Regional MLS has is the ability to hide the address, which Johnson Group has done on occasion, as well as allow sites to Auto price the property like Zillow.com.  Auto pricing by Zillow scares me sometimes because as I mentioned before Zillow’s data is somewhat out dated.

Your BEST Steps to Finding a home to purchase

1.        You are doing your home work now.  Education is key!  Even if you don’t care HOW the information gets to you, understand how it affects your purchasing should matter.

2.       You have discovered OrlandoHomesFL.com and are going to use this site for your preliminary Searching Needs.  Sign up for an account and Save your favorites.  Get notified daily of listings.

3.       Become a VIP Buyer.  ONLY 99% of homes are available to you on OrlandoHomesFL.com.  Come in a sit down with a member of Johnson Group and discover how to get EVERY listing available to you- some of which aren’t even marketed yet.