Q & A: The Truth About Trulia And Zillow

Posted by Steve Vincent on Oct 28, 2013, 9:58:51 AM

In Buyers, greensboro homes for sale, Listingbook, Triad Home Search, Zillow, Zillow Trulia Inaccuracies

What exactly are Zillow, Trulia and similar sites?  

Zillow and Trulia are National Property Portals.  They collect and aggregate information about housing and houses for sale from all over the country and offer it up to consumers in a searchable database.

How to the Property Portals make money?

zillow-logoThere are a variety of income streams, but the largest is through advertising.  The Portals sell premium placement of agent and broker information throughout their websites, in theory giving those agents an edge in securing buyer and seller leads.  We at GreatNest and The Vincent Group advertise on Zillow and Trulia (and others) because those ads help expose our listings and produce a healthy stream of buyer inquiries into our office.

Where do Zillow, Trulia and others get their data?

The information on houses for sale comes from a variety of data feeds.  It is possible for an agent or broker to physically input a listing into the National Portals, but in reality this rarely happens.  Instead, the agent or broker inputs the listing into the local MLS, that then 'feeds' the listing information to the Portal.  In their quest to have as much housing information as possible, the Portals also 'pull' feeds - sometimes containing the same, but perhaps not exactly the same, information - from other sources.  For example, if the real estate office is a member of one of the large franchises, their franchisor may feed listings to the portals.  Or a large, multi-office firm may have its own feed.

Why are there so many inaccuracies on Zillow, Trulia, ect?

It is a conundrum.  Essentially they are trying to do what is a local job with a national trulia-logo-200x200platform.  They receive tons of data from multiple sources and, because they are removed from the local market, their methods of discerning what is accurate, and what is not, are somewhat flawed.  So you have duplicate listings with different prices, homes for sale that were actually sold weeks, even months ago and price estimates that consider only the average value in an area - which can be skewed by one very big sale or one that is very small. It can be very frustrating for the consumer.

Is there a better way to search for homes for sale in Greensboro and the Triad?

Absolutely!  At GreatNest and the Vincent Group, we approach the homebuying process as a partnership.  We want our buyer clients to be as involved in the search as they'd like to be, and we want them to have access to the most up-to-date and accurate information as possible.  That's why we offer them a Listingbook account.

listingbook-logo-2012Listingbook is like a window into the actual Triad MLS - the one real estate agents and brokers in the Greensboro - High Point - Winston Salem area use every day to market property.  With a Listingbook account, home buyers can search for property using the same Local database we use.  It is far more accurate and up-to-date than any other home search tool available . . . and it is easy to use.

If you are just starting your search or deeply into it - or if you're just curious about local homes for sale - we'd be pleased to give you a complimentary Listingbook account.  You can search to your heart's content, and when you need more information on a property, on financing, or on qualifying, we will be right there with you.