We always get sellers an buyers who have scoped out our local real estate market using Zillow or Trulia. They get a “Zestimate,” and are either thrilled or mortified at what these sites tell them. Their homes are either worth a million bucks, or are undervalued. How can such a resource be both trusted and reviled at the same time? Easy- it’s got great name recognition, but relies on data that is either not verified, inaccurate, or extremely outdated.
I recently read an article by Geoffrey Schiering that sums up the problem very succinctly-
The syndicators grab information from a variety of online sources. And not all the information is accurate or up-to-date. As a result, the public is being confused and often misled. Realtors are losing credibility with a public who no longer knows who or what to believe.
Outdated information on Zillow, Trulia, and similar sites is also harmful. I regularly receive inquires from prospective buyers who’ve seen this or that property for sale on Zillow. When I look it up I find that the property is in escrow, or was recently sold, or was sold literally years earlier. Occasionally there are property addresses that don’t even exist. And when people get the truth they are often skeptical. If it was on Zillow, they wrongly assume, it must be correct.
The Realtors associations that publish MLS listings have strict standards, and those standards are meant to protect the public and to protect the reputations of member Realtors. The listings must contain accurate information and measurements. The listings may not have any misleading sales language or cross-promotions with other businesses… There is a whole book of rules that Realtors must follow with regard to MLS listings and advertising. Yet the rules don’t apply to the listing aggregators. Public beware.
(For the full article, please go here. http://www.ultimateidx.com/blog/realtors-push-back-against-zillow-and-mls-listing-syndicators/)
So what is the public to do? Certainly, go to Trulia or Zillow to peruse local listings, or to get a feel for your local market. But remember, that really the only people that truly have your best interests at heart, and who know the local market conditions, are your friendly neighborhood realtors.
For more information on any Vail Valley property, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would be delighted to speak with you, and promise to give you the best value for your time. I’ll also give you accurate information!