Another Day, Another Listings SNAFU

Real Estate Agent with Realty ONE Group
It was a typical e-mail ... a buyer coming to town in a week, looking beyond the listings that I've sent to him through the MLS, sends me back a handful of addresses from Trulia.

All are short sales. All are under contract. All are appearing as active in Trulia. (This particular situation isn't unique to Trulia. also can't distinguish between Active listings in Phoenix and those designated Active with Contingencies, meaning a contract's already been accepted by the seller albeit with contingencies atttached.)

What is particular to Trulia are these basics ...

1) Not all of the homes for sale in Phoenix are listed on Trulia. Only those specifically uploaded by a particular brokerage are going to appear. This means that a significant percentage of homes here never make it to this website.

2) Not all of the listings are updates in a timely manner. Where the fault lies is irrelevant - Trulia says the agents need to update the listings, some of us feel the owner of the platform has a greater responsibility to provide accurate data - but what's important is, as was the case with these homes, not everything "for sale" is still for sale. (This also happens on homes listed on Zillow, incidentally.)

This morning I directed this buyer back to my and the Phoenix home search there because, whatever other flaws my website may or may not have (mostly SEO related), the search data is solid.

Active listings are active; contingent listings are clearly marked, even if the buyers don't always take note that there's something added to the "active".

It's an imperfect world of listings data and the ability to guide a client toward the best possible data seems to be an increasingly common and necessary chore.


Want to read more that Jonathan has to say about Phoenix real estate and the industry in general? Check out his outside All Phoenix Real blog or his Facebook Fan Page!
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Want to read more that Jonathan and Tobey have to say about Phoenix real estate and the industry in general? Check out his outside All Phoenix Real blog or his Facebook Fan Page!

Comments (31)

Didi Doolittle
Slifer Smith & Frampton Real Estate, Eagle Office - Vail, CO
Vail, CO Realtor 970.232.8225
One would think a real estate property website would have "accurate data" at the top of the priority list. I know my firm does, and it sound like you do too. At least we can proudly direct web savvy clients to our sites!
Jul 02, 2011 10:53 AM
J. Philip Faranda
J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY - Briarcliff Manor, NY

That is a huge problem with listing syndication in our market also. We have to import to places like Zillow and Trulia to be competitive, yet their data is seldom up to date. I'be listed properties that had the old agent as listing agent, and I have gotten called on properties that weren't even my listing (but the consumer thought it was) that was sold or expired. 

And the people get confused as to why I don't know about the house. 

Jul 02, 2011 11:15 AM
Mike Wong
Keller Williams Realty Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
Realtor: Commercial, Residential, Leasing, Invest

I think with listing syndication opens up a whole new problem. When I enter a listing it can syndicate up to over 150 websites within 24 hours. If I need to make a price reduction or change the status I bet it only updates on a handfull of those websites.

Jul 02, 2011 12:14 PM
Mike Yeo
3:16 team REALTY - Frisco, TX
The best data is from you agent. thereis a reason why we pay dues.
Jul 02, 2011 01:05 PM
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

This is a big problem - but I don't think its my obligation to keep third party sites updated all the time.  I DO during the course of the listing - because that is my obligation to my seller.  However, beyond that point - I'm not going to run around to 20 different sites making sure they are doing what THEY SHOULD BE DOING.  I see no reason to aid my competition online.

Jul 02, 2011 01:59 PM
Barbara Altieri
Better Homes and Gardens RE Shore and Country Properties - Shelton, CT
REALTOR-Fairfield County CT Homes/Condos For Sale

Jonathan -- Just last week I received call from a buyer who wanted to see a house that sold in January. Still out there as active.  Also, one of my buyers gave me a list last week of about 15 homes she liked and 7 were either sold or expired.  You have to get the buyers to your local search where the results have more integrity. 

Jul 02, 2011 02:15 PM
Kristi DeFazio
RE/MAX Advantage - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468

I agree with Mike- Get your data from your agent- directly from the MLS. I have buyers asking to see homes that have been off the market for months.

Jul 02, 2011 02:17 PM
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

I'm working this a client right not who does this. I keep directing her to my website and she keeps looking at Zillow and Trulia.

Jul 02, 2011 02:38 PM
Donald Reich
Prudential Centennial - New Rochelle, NY

Zillow, trulia Realtor, and many other websites are not up to date. Even some of the local realtors to not have up to date information on their sites, and include many expired listings, or ones with signed contracts. Few of them update their pictures or descriptions once a listing agent has changed them.


I am proud to say that my site is updated multiple times a day, old listings are removed, and changes are marked!

Jul 02, 2011 03:40 PM
Ridhi Raheja
Movement Mortgage (Illinois) - Naperville, IL
FHA, 203k, VA, Jumbo, PreApproval, Jumbo Home Loan

The power of Trulia, Zillow and Redfinn. We need to educate our clients about the validity of data on these sites

Jul 02, 2011 03:48 PM
Teresa Tedder
Carolina Realty of Wilkes Inc - Wilkesboro, NC

yes, that outdated information can get really annoying!!!!

Jul 02, 2011 03:49 PM
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Especially annoying when the client believes they have found their dream home..... not!    

Jul 02, 2011 04:13 PM
Irina Netchaev
Pasadena Views Real Estate Team, Inc. - Pasadena, CA
Pasadena CA Real Estate

Wow!  2 features in a row!!!  Go Jonathan!!!

Jul 02, 2011 04:29 PM
Pamela Seley
West Coast Realty Division - Murrieta, CA
Residential Real Estate Agent serving SW RivCo CA

Great point. This is why I discourage use of Trulia and Zillow. I allow consumers to search my MLS for free, where the data is accurate. That is what we REALTORS® pay for.

Jul 02, 2011 07:13 PM
Gwen Banta
Sotheby's International Realty - Los Angeles, CA

Jonathan, Trulia and Zillow make me crazy. It's shocking how much weight buyers place on those sites. I try to educate every new client, but they often come with preconceived notions. Everyone who can use a computer is now a real estate authority. Usually, however, their minds are swayed when I tell them how many of their researched listings are outdated. Now if I can just get those Zillow Zestimates out of their heads...

Jul 02, 2011 07:13 PM
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Jonathan - This is part of the problem with all of the aggregator sites.  Many don't keep the information up to date or distinguish between active and in escrow.

Jul 03, 2011 04:59 AM

And who submits the istings to Trulia Zillow ect.? Who fails to update or remove them?


Seems to me like Agents play a large part in the Problem that exists..

They use the Sites for more exposure for their Listings & as Lead Generators for Free (Many) and then Blame the Sites for problems created by Agents who don't follow the Basic requests of the Sites for doing so....

The Request that you Update and Remove expired Listings you post


Jul 03, 2011 11:10 AM

isting=Listing lol

Jul 03, 2011 11:11 AM
Todd Clark - Retired
eXp Realty LLC - Tigard, OR
Principle Broker Oregon

I do not like sites like for this exact reason, you just can't explain that to buyers sometimes.

Jul 05, 2011 06:55 PM
Jack O'Neal
HomeSmart Elite Group - Gilbert, AZ

I give my clients access to MLS with my websites stops some of the issues with non-update online real estate sites.

Jul 06, 2011 05:04 PM