Why do Zillow and Trulia show incorrect data on their websites?
Why do Clients call and ask about Expired Listings? Where does all of this incorrect data on Zillow and Trulia come from?
I've had an increase in calls on homes that Clients find on Zillow and Trulia lately that have incorrect information. How and why do Zillow and Trulia and other "aggregator" sites get their incorrect information?
The email that I had yesterday from a gentleman concerned a home that he found with an MLS number that started with the digits 07-xxxx. In our MLS the first two digits are the year that the home was listed in the MLS, indicating that it had been listed sometime in 2007. Sure enough, there was no currently "Active" listing in the Coeur d'Alene MLS for the address that he provided. When we spoke on the phone he told me that he had originally found the home on the local Real Estate Company's website that had listed the home, but there was no address information available. He did some further research and found the same house (from the photo, price and square foot data) on Zillow. Unfortunatley the Listing had expired on in March of 2008.
So, how did both Zillow and Trulia pick this up and show it as an "Active" listing even though it has been expired for almost 2 years? When I did some digging, the listing still shows on the agent's website as one of his "Featured Listings". Trulia and Zillow "sweep" their information from Agent websites and their Brokerage websites, as well as getting information from the MLS IDX feeds. It's up to Agents to make sure that the data on their listings is current and up-to-date.
Another long-term Client texted me last week and wanted to go and look at a house that he was considering purchasing as a Rental Property. He sent me the link from Trulia (which I didn't click on), but looked at, grabbed the address and looked it up on the MLS. At $170,500 the house is overpriced for it's neighborhood, backs to a busy street and didn't have a great floor plan. I talked with him and said I'd be happy to go and show him the house, but thought that there were better buys available - But, he said For $107,500 he really thought we should go and look at it! I sent him the listing out of the MLS, showing the $170,500 price and then clicked on the Trulia link - sure enough Trulia had the home at $107,500. So, where did this erroneous information come from? On Trulia there was a link to the Agent's website - where the home was shown as $107,500. Either the Listing Agent or her assistant had mistyped the information when putting it on their website.
Many times when Zillow or Trulia show a listing that has no room or square foot data only an address - it's a clue! Yes, the home may eventually be coming on the Market, but could very well be an upcoming Trustee Sale. The "aggregator" sites also "sweep" their data from the various Foreclosure websites that show upcoming Trustee Sales and quite possibly the home is months away from coming onto the Market if it does not sell at Auction or the Sale is cancelled.
A few Sundays ago I received an email on a house that had been listed by one of the "Big-Name" Realtors in Coeur d'Alene. The house had been on the Market for a number of years, off and on, but was currently expired. I was able to send the Client a number of comparable properties, just not the one she had originally inquired about. The property still had an active single-property website and a Virtual Tour.
Yes, Trulia and Zillow also sweep the Virtual Tour and Single Property Websites that Real Estate Agents use to broadcast their listings. All too often the tasks of maintaing accurate information on these secondary sources falls to an assistant and not the individual agent.
Blog posts that contain a flyer for a property (yes, even ActiveRain posts) that are no longer in an "Active" status should be deleted. Remember agents - the people that are searching the Internet are savvy - they know how to "Google" an address to find a property, they are doing research to find a home, an agent to give them accurate data, not garbage! Give them the correct data - or they will search out and find another agent who will!
Agents leave the Business and leave their old websites up and active, change companies and still have active websites with their old firm (In Idaho this falls under the catergory of only advertising under the Brokerage where you currently have your License).