Many of my Pearland, Friendswood and Houston clients, both buyers and sellers, have been using the information and Apps available from Real Estate sites Trulia.com and Zillow.com. Both sites have huge nationwide databases for buyers and sellers to search for values, tax information, sales information and estimates. The sites also provide a neutral third party platform where customers feel they can search on their own terms and get an actual non-biased report.
If you are a buyer searching for homes, the App provides a great tool for driving around and touring your areas of interest. Houston’s HAR MLS database also has a great App for this process, but many of our customers are coming from out of the area. Trulia.com and Zillow are heavily marketed nationwide sites with availability anywhere. So, in many cases they are the ‘go to’ venue to begin a search here in Pearland, Friendswood and the surrounding areas. What most buyers don’t realize is that Zillow and Trulia each have delays. The data, is in fact pulled from the local MLS systems. If you’re a buyer searching for ‘hot’ properties like those in Montrose of Houston or Foreclosures, you may miss out. A REALTOR® has the most up to date data.
Sellers have the ability to obtain a market analysis on their home without the hassle of dealing with a sales person. This feature makes the initial decision to list or not to list a little easier once you have an idea of value. From a REALTOR®’s perspective, the site’s neutral aspect definitely makes the seller’s opinion of the value delivered easier to accept.
I definitely see both sides of this argument as a salesperson and a consumer. The truth of the matter is that both Trulia.com and Zillow.com can provide a good ESTIMATE of value depending on your geographic area and the data available.
Keep in mind, that the system does not account for subdivision differences, price difference from street to street and local factors that only a local REALTOR® will know. The data used to derive value is not typically an apples to apples comparison. In addition, whether you live in a rural, urban or suburban area, neither Trulia nor Zillow have actually been to your area. Would you hire an out of state person to sell your home?
All that being said, both sites are great tools for real estate consumers and professionals. There is definitely a demand for them. Just remember that an experienced professional will be able to create a marketing and selling plan designed specifically for your home or property. So when it comes time to list, be sure to do as much research as you did for you home when choosing who to hire.
For more information on selling or buying real estate in Houston including Pearland, Friendswood, League City, Clear Lake and more, contact Stephanie Bateman, REALTOR®.