Although it is a boon to a listing agent when Zillow.com, Trulia.com, Homesnap.com, Movoto.com and Homes.com stream our homes for sale on their platforms, they also distribute a whole lot of other information that we never authorized when we agreed to this when we place it on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
So what's up with that? What is some of the information we have no control over?
1. That the listing shows "Active" on the market even though it's really not. Very often, the listing is actually under contract and is in escrow. In my case, I have 2 listings under contract and on my MLS they show as "active-backup--but not so on these other platforms. In most cases these escrows are pretty solid. If you, the public, have a buyers agent, they usually advise you to move on after checking with us, the listing agent.
2. Zestimates: Zillow, for example, will give a home value to a listing and that can be all over the lot from day to day. One of my listings was rated quite a chunk under what I put it on the market for; yet, now, a week later, I am right on target, falling right between their high and low figure. Go figure! Sorry, I can't explain it to you.
3. "Get pre-qualified" on Trulia: One of my clients, an investor, was looking at a fixer upper that needed cash to close. No way was a lender going to finance it in the normal fashion. But, he said, it says so right here, "get pre-qualified", why would they do that if there was not a loan that can be had on this property? This is standard on these websites, they want to capture you as a "lead", who knows, even get you pre-qualified for a loan--but not on THAT house!
4. On Movoto.com, my listing had my photos, but their "Movoto agent" headed it as "off market" and at the wrong price. Can't figure that one out, but am checking on it. Is this like a "bait and switch"? They are promoting "similar homes", all not my listings. All just want you to contact THEIR agent.
5. Homes.com - Shows my listing and others in the same price range which is great for comparison. They also show a lot of loan information, how to calculate it, etc. Pretty even handed, although they are pushing the buyer to contact their preferred agents signed up with them--who pay them good money!
6. Realtor.com - Interestingly, when I GOOGLED it, my address did not show up and I had to go to the website itself to search for my address. And then it was all there, well laid out, showing similar properties (who, I know, all pay for that position).
WHICH ONE OF THESE IS THE FAVORITE OF THE BUYING PUBLIC?
From my email responses, it is probably Zillow; however, the way the others present THEIR paid agents to contact for more information, it favors those agents who pay a fee to the platform.
And that's just the beginning of the story!!!