“3rd party website syndication”. A popular phrase used throughout Real Estate offices as of late. The 3rd parties are websites such as Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com and alike. The “Syndication” is the transferring of MLS (Multiple Listing Service) data to these 3rd party sites.
As a year long advertiser on Zillow (since discontinued), I have known firsthand the issues. I decided to advertise my services as a Real Estate professional on Zillow, as I knew it was where most home-buyers began their search. Fast forward to a year later, I can say that at least 45-50% of the calls/texts/emails I received from potential home-buyers were on properties that were NOT for sale, however WERE listed as active in the Zillow database. These properties in reality were either pending, closed this year (or several years ago), or withdrawn.
Unfortunately….It doesn’t end there. The “Zestimate”. Zillow also provides curious homeowners the ability to determine the value of their home. Here’s the major problem with that: The “Zestimate” is pulling (their) data and comparing homes to other homes that have sold in the same zip code. So, referring back to the above, it is taking homes that sold last year, 2 years ago, perhaps even 5 years ago in a zip code and generating a range.
Just for fun, I have taken my home in Niskayuna that I purchased in June of 2011. The “Zestimate” tells me it is worth: $149-230k. Now…lets say you called me to do a Market Analysis to determine the value of your home in today’s market. I show up, suit, tie and smile on my face. Hard copy of comparable homes in my hand, listing presentation ready. We sit down after taking a quick tour of your home. If I were to say: Your home is worth $149,000 to 215,000, I would hope you’d tell me to “get lost”.
Another quick find: I grew up in Latham. My parents bought their home in 1986, where they reside to this day. According to Zillow: The home was sold in November of 2006. Someone should let my parents know!
I am writing this after reading a study conducted on these issues that I stress to my clients day in and day out. Here are some eye opening findings:
What this means: Of all the homes listed ACTIVE on Zillow and Trulia, over 1/3 of them were actually NOT ACTIVE
What this means: Of all the homes ACTIVE in brokerages MLS only 79% on Zillow and 81% on Trulia actually appeared on their sites. Meaning, if were you looking for a home in the zip code 12110, if you looked in the MLS you would find 100% of the homes listed for sale. If you looked on Zillow you would be missing out on 21% of the homes, if you looked on Trulia, you would be missing out on 19% of the homes. The syndication takes longer. The median days between list and appearance on their sites was found to be: Zillow – 7, Trulia – 9. Not. Good.
Moral of this story Buyers: Have an agent, me :), set you up with automatic listing notifications tailored to your search criteria. This way when a listing hits the market, or drops in price, you will IMMEDIATELY get the listing sent to your email. Or, run a property search on this website as it is directly linked to our (Capital Region) MLS.
Moral of this story Sellers: Have an agent, me :), take a quick walk through your home and create a market analysis based on local comparable properties that have recently sold. Analyze the initial asking price, price reductions they made, days on market, etc..
To view this study in its entirety: http://www.inman.com/news/2012/10/3/redfin-study-knocks-zillow-trulia-listings-accuracy