The Low-Down on Popular Real Estate Websites

I get asked a lot about real estate websites, and I don’t really want to name names, but I think it’s important for everyone to understand the pros and cons of these types of websites.  For the sake of conversation, we’ll call the sites I’m going to talk about any real estate websites that are not sponsored by a licensed agent or brokerage. Are you with me so far?

Here’s an example. You’ve “Googled” your dream neighborhood, and up pops a listing for a beautiful 4 bedroom, 3 bathroom house in your price range,  that says it’s been on the market for 375 days. Your dream come true!!  Right? Wrong.

What you don’t realize is that the home really was a 4 bedroom 2 bathroom, that sold for $15,000 over what the site said it was listed for in 20 days.  It’s also been off the market for over six months.

How does this happen?

There’s only one website that real estate agents use themselves, and that’s called the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS.  It’s the only real website you can trust.  People who are non-licensed realtors do not have access to this service. Fortunately, licensed real estate agents, like myself, do.

Why is the MLS so much better than the other real estate websites?

Because the MLS is the only website that real estate agents use themselves, the information is the most up to date, and accurate.  For example, whenever an agent acquires a listing, the very first thing they do is add it onto the MLS. When changes to listing are made, such as it being under contract, pending, or sold—  those are all changes made directly into the MLS. It’s a way of letting other agents know whether they can or cannot show a home, and of keeping everyone on the same page. The changes are made in real-time and are reflected immediately in the system. Because this has been a method used for literally a hundred years (since 1908), not only can you find the current information on a home but also the history of the home from the day it was built, and every single transaction that has taken place.  Additionally, because so many people are involved on one property, owner, listing agent, buyer’s agent, open house agent, brokerage—-  the information has 4-5 times more chance of being perfectly correct, because everyone has checked and double checked the information, and these are people that are invested into the property and not just some data analysts sitting in a cubicle five states away.

Why can’t I trust the data from the other websites?

I would caution you against trusting the data from other websites for a couple of reasons. First, sometimes the information was accumulated just by searching other sites, and information can be taken out of context when a computer is compiling it from another website. Even if real people are inputting that data, they are people who have never seen the home in person, as opposed to the actual real estate agent, so they have no idea whether the 6 bedroom, 2 bath, information is a typo or if that’s the real deal. Finally, because an agent or individual has to log-on to those sites to enter information, they often times don’t remember to go back and mark it as sold or pending, and remove the listing. It’s basically similar to you making a Craigslist ad and forgetting to delete it weeks later. People still call you to ask you if you have the couch for sale, and then you remember to go and delete it.  That’s similar to what’s happening here.

How do I get access to the MLS if I’m not a real estate agent?

You can get access to the MLS through me, of course. Not only can I login to the multiple listing service and check the listings for you, but sometimes I’m directly in communication with the agent who listed it in the first place, if you’re looking at properties in my area.  If you don’t want to call me every five seconds, I understand how you may feel that you are annoying me, but I assure you that I am available via phone, e-mail, or my social media channels whenever you need me.

But, if browsing alone is your preferred method to house shop, you can absolutely go to my personal website located at http://www.chastinjmilesteam.com and view the MLS listings that are imported daily right onto my website!

The worst thing in the world for me is having to apologize to someone for their dream home not being available after they’ve fallen in love with it on the web, so please work with me and my website so I don’t have to break your heart.

Please contact me with any questions or comments you have below!  I love feedback!  Thanks for reading.

 

 

 

 

About the Author Chastin Miles

Chastin J. Miles is a full-service real estate agent specializing in Dallas real estate, brand management, and client representation in a comprehensive spectrum of classes including single-family residential, condos and developments, commercial real estate, and luxury leases.

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