Are you serious about buying real estate? Then do not use Trulia or Zillow or any other third-party site to search for real estate. There are many good reasons not to search for real estate using Trulia or Zillow but the most important reason is that many real estate brokerages are starting to withhold listings from these third-party sites like Trulia and Zillow. It’s not well-known by the general public but real estate brokerages need to first authorize the data transfer of their listings to these third-party sites. MLSPIN, the largest MLS in Massachusetts, currently allows the ability to transfer data to these third-party sites:
- Banker & Tradesman
- MLS PIN Homes
- Realtors Property Resource (RPR)
- The Boston Courant
- The New York Times Real Estate
- The Real Estate Book
- Trulia Direct Reference
Do you see how quickly a real estate listing can get lost in the shuffle by syndicating listings to all these third-party sites like Trulia or Zillow? All of these sites have their own layouts and their own rules and real estate agents are left to edit the listings on many of these sites because the information is almost never displayed adequately or correctly. This is an extremely time-consuming proposition for an already busy real estate agent.
Even worse is the prevalence of fraud on some of these third-party sites like Trulia or Zillow. I’ve had scammers take my listing information and pictures directly from some of my for sale listings on Zillow.com and then use that information to add rental listings back to Zillow.com in order to cheat people out of deposit money on “cheap rentals”. It happened to me most recently on my listing at 306 West Street, Hyde Park last year and I only found out when a “prospective tenant” called me off of my sign that was placed in the front yard. How much money could’ve that con artist made from that “prospective tenant” if my sign wasn’t placed?
Another ethical and moral issue that most real estate brokerages are starting to recognize is its duty to its own agents. Real estate brokerages, by syndicating its listings to these third-party sites, are costing its agents, de facto, more money in fees to these third-party sites and/or fewer opportunities for sales commissions due to the to the lowered ability of its agents to secure their own buyers on their own listings. How so? Let’s go through the process.
The listing agent works extremely hard to list a property and then enters that property into the MLS and then the MLS syndicates that listing to these third-party sites like Trulia and Zillow. The listing agent now has a choice. Does the listing agent pay these third-party sites like Trulia or Zillow in order to be featured on his/her own listing or does the listing agent not pay these third-party sites like Trulia or Zillow and be trumped by another real estate agent that’s paid these third-party sites like Trulia or Zillow? It’s an extremely frustrating proposition for the listing agent when these buyers come to view the listing agent’s own listing using a real estate agent that’s paid one of these third-party sites like Trulia or Zillow. Would you, as a buyer, rather work with an agent that’s probably never met the owner and/or probably never seen the property? I didn’t think so. For this reason, many real estate agents, including myself, deem these third-party sites like Trulia or Zillow to be virtual extortionists to whom real estate agents must pay a blatant ransom.
The clear way for real estate brokerages to stop this incessant cycle is to stop syndicating its listings to these third-party sites like Trulia or Zillow. But how? Are you a real estate agent? Talk to other real estate agents in your office and get their opinions. Then talk to your broker. It’s so easy for real estate brokers to stop syndicating its listings. All I had to do in MLSPIN was uncheck boxes and press a few buttons. It’s not a complicated process and don’t let your real estate broker tell you otherwise.
As a buyer, here’s what you want to do. You want to work directly with a good real estate agent and you want that good real estate agent to email you listings directly from the MLS he/she is subscribed to or from his/her own third-party site that has a feed directly tied into the MLS. For instance, I could email listings to buyers directly using Pinergy, which is the name of MLSPIN’s latest product, or from iHomeFinder, right here on 617hubedge.com, which pays MLSPIN a fee to access its listings. You want to get as close to the MLS as possible and using third-party sites like Trulia or Zillow only brings you father away from your needs and wants because the listings that you may need and want just may not be on those third-party sites. Again, do not use Trulia or Zillow to search for real estate.