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What’s the difference between Zillow and the search for properties on

Are you in the market to purchase a property? How do you want to get started?  Does it bother you if your phone starts ringing off the hook just because you took a sneak peek?  Do you like to sometimes receive more than 20 calls from Real Estate agents during a short period of time, or do you just want to take a peek and decide yourself, when and if you want to hire help? Is there a better way?  

You are #30 who called

Rumor has it, Zillow is attracting real estate agents and brokers to their website and since they joined with Trulia, they seem to control about 70%  of online real estate searches.

In overall the big 3, Zillow ( founded 2006 ) , ( founded 1995 ) and Redfin ( founded 2004 ) are the main sources for nearly all buyers in the beginning. At least they take a peek to get a good first opinion. So they think!!

What buyers often are unaware of is the fact, that these websites exist to extract contact information. YOUR information!! These websites are to create leads for Realtors which in return leads to more revenue for the owner of these websites. What a great model – for them! Fact: Have you ever noticed the weird advertising days and weeks later after when you visit other websites? You have been tracked!! Even if your contact info are relatively safe, your general idea is not. You did look for properties. Now for the next few weeks, you get blasted with links and ads about it. In addition, the system is designed to lead to problems for both parties, because there is also a lot of false advertising, delays, and inaccurate data.

If you feel the desire to write a book, what would it be about? by Glenn Carstens-Peters

Founded back in 1995, is the grandfather of the whole online real estate industry. It’s the official site of the National Association of REALTORS. So you think their data should be accurate and up to date? They say, their data get updated every 15 to 30 minutes.  WRONG: Reality shows it takes about seven days for a home listed on the MLS to appear

Although most MLS’ give permission to these portals to republish their data, the MLS system is very hard to access.  There is no public API to just pull the data, and they restrict membership and access to real estate brokers and their agents.  This means a person selling his own home cannot put a listing for the home directly into an MLS.  This is the reason the data is never complete.

There is also the issue of false information on these sites:  Based on the above-mentioned delay factor, many homes are long sold while they still show “Active” on Zillow and Co. Not very helpful. I remember an email from one of my customers asking me for information about a property she saw on Zillow. After looking it up on our MLS it said “Sold” 4 weeks ago. Since it takes Title Companies a few weeks to close, these data showed wrong information for about 8 weeks.

Next: Take a look at the Agent listed on each property: You would think this is the “listing agent” or the “seller’s agent.” Wrong. It’s usually attached to a paying Realtor client of Zillow. Someone who is looking for leads. Someone looking for people like you. This is one of many Realtors receiving this lead and who will call you right after you enter your contact info. In my opinion, this is taking advantage of people and misleading advertising. OK: If this doesn’t bother you, then you are fine. Most people aren’t.  Most of my customers appreciate to only hear from me.

by Maurice Williams

But what if you simply want to get an idea of the value of properties in your area? Theses free  “Zestimates ” on Zillow look tempting. Ooooh yes, they do, but it would even be better if they are more accurate.  Google Zillow’s CEO, sold his own home in Seattle for 40% less than the Zestimate.  Zestimate showed 1,75 Million – sales prices was only 1,05 Million.  You had to look fast for it on Zillow’s website, cause only days later the value showed a lower Zestimate. The good thing about computers is, the data is never lost. Google has the facts. Look it up.

Here comes the solution:

Zillow has the advantage to give buyers access to properties all over the US.  If you in the market to purchase multiple properties in multiple different areas than Zillow and friends are a great way to start your search. But leave it to this. A start. Try to avoid to hand out your information or your phone will ring off the hook with an unwanted solicitation from Realtors. If you know what you want, you should hire a  local Realtor.

Not all those who wander are lost… by Aron Visuals

ONE Realtor – but which one?

The basic training for all Realtors is the same. We go to school, take a few tests and we show up for our regular license renewal every 2 years.  And all Realtors have access to the same properties. No excuse. It all comes down to experience and personal liking. Me being in this industry for 35 years says all about my experience – I hope!! If you like me, is completely up to you 🙂 My German roots and my bilingualism often make it easy to deal with both worlds: The European standards and wishes and the tough rules of the real estate industry.

Remember: In Florida buyer aren’t supposed to pay for real estate services. You can hire a local real estate professional who will represent you throughout the whole process. This will not cost you a dime. In addition to professional help, you get the peace of mind, that each Realtor is insured. In case something goes wrong you are safe.

This is how to get started:

On my website, you find the Homebuyer link. There are 2 ways to start your search: One way even gives you the opportunity to search completely anonymous.  The 2nd choice is to enter your search criteria and personal data in order to receive constant updates if any new listings pop up. Automatically.

The best at the end:

Either way: You get a live connection to our local MLS for free and I promise not to call you unless you ask me. You get all the information about the properties live. The results also include data about neighborhoods, schools, points of interest and demographics.

Pros Zillow:

  • free
  • listings from all over the US
  • Quick and easy to handle

Cons Zillow:

  • Price estimates not accurate
  • listings often not up to date
  • lot’s of unsolicited phone call’s from Realtors
  • Zillow sells buyers information
  • tracking of your browsing habits

Pros our website:

  • no unsolicited phone calls
  • live access to the local MLS
  • automated updates whenever a new listing matches your criteria
  • automated updates for prices changes on properties you like
  • no charge
  • full and absolutely free access to me and all my resources
  • no tracking of your browser habits
  • Only Cons: you can only look up LOCAL listings and the system needs info in order to work and get results

How can you make sure you aren’t paying too much with my system?

The only way to find out the value of a property is to look up comparable properties that have been sold in the past. Let me do it for you or do it yourself. Your choice. But give it a try. It’s interesting, it’s fun, easy and it’s free. I’m looking forward to meeting with you soon.

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