Rewind ten or fifteen years ago. Searching for a home was quite cumbersome and took loads of time. Those in the market for a home to purchase had a few options to uncover potential properties: drive neighborhoods to uncover those properties for sale, plop open a real estate magazine or Sunday newspaper and read the real estate listing section line by line or trek all over town on Saturday or Sunday popping in and out of Open Houses.
Fast forward to today, or even just a few years ago. A buyer doesn’t have to endure that daunting home search task but now can quickly find an endless supply of homes for sale with a few clicks utilizing a home search app on their smartphone. Many buyers bounce between multiple home search sites – Zillow, Trulia or Realtor.com to name a few, but are you sure you are seeing every home available for sale and not missing out on “THE ONE?”
Now onto a brief educational session. Realtors across the U.S. enter their listings (homes for sale) into their local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Those listings are sent to buyers via email from the system, they are delivered to the local and state associations public facing websites and often are delivered to Realtor.com for the same rationale it is delivered to a local or state association. Beyond that delivery, there is no rhyme or reason where you’ll discover listings. A real estate firm and/or an agent decides whether they syndicate listings to other websites called portals (Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc). There are MLS’ and brokerages across the U.S. who have stopped syndication of their listings to real estate portals for one reason or another. The primary reason being portals were not adhering to data accuracy. It is very common to find inaccurate data on portal sites whether it be homes still for sale long after it was sold or estimates on a homes worth that doesn’t even come close to a true market value, etc.
So with all of this said, what does this mean to potential buyer? This means if the real estate firm wants their listings displayed on these sites, they must take it upon themselves to manually enter it, enter into an agreement with these companies independently or a syndication company to facilitate these transitions between sites naturally. This also means that as a buyer you may not be seeing ALL of the homes available for purchase when you are conducting your search via a portal app or website. The best way to ensure you are receiving the most accurate inventory is to provide your REALTOR® with your search criteria and allow them to create a search within the MLS platform that delivers listing details as soon as they become available. If you do not want to associate yourself with a REALTOR® yet, we encourage you to visit the local association public facing website, the state association website or realtor.com to ensure you are receiving the most up to date and the most accurate data.