If you are someone looking to buy a home in Massachusetts or Rhode Island, you’ve most likely been to Zillow or Trulia. You are probably also on a real estate brokerage website like ZipRealty, Realtor.com, etc.
If the above sounds like you, you probably think you see more “inventory” on Zillow and/or Trulia and that is why you keep going back to those websites because the brokerage websites aren’t showing as many as you are seeing on the Zillow and Trulia sites.
There is a very big reason for this and that is because Zillow and Trulia are what they call a consumer website. They pull their data from the public records. They aren’t a brokerage so they don’t have the access to the multiple listing service (“MLS”) in the states you are interested in. So when you see the “pre-foreclosures” it is because a mortgage company has filed a notice of default with the state, local or county registry of deeds (a public records website). So now this information is public information so it can be disseminated and sent out to the websites that are dialed into that. When you see a property whose last last price was $1.00 or $10.00 it is because a Deed was recorded in the county registry of deeds and is, again, public information. This isn’t actual sales data because it’s usually the owner of a home that has deeded his/her property to a trust, or a divorce or a death was involved and the property is being transfer to a family, spouse, etc. for what they call nominal consideration. You aren’t allowed to transfer real estate for free which is why they use the nominal consideration of $1.00 or $10.00.
So you see, it APPEARS you have more inventory, but in reality, you don’t. Pre-foreclosures are NOT for sale. They are simply public notice of a homeowners default on their mortgage.
The only additional inventory you see on those consumer websites are the for sale by owner homes and the make me move homes because those are actually for sale, just not with a brokerage.
CONSUMER WEBSITE VS. BROKERAGE WEBSITE
I’ve already covered the consumer website above. So I will explain now the brokerage website.
All homes that are for sale with a real estate agent/brokerage, will start their life in the Multiple Listing Service (“MLS”). As a real estate agent, we HAVE to be a member and pay dues to, the MLS. This enables us to enter in the property information and disclose information that may be inaccurately reported by the towns’ assessors office.
Once a listing is entered in the MLS and the photos have been uploaded, we hit the “POST” button. By doing this, it makes the listing public which then gets shot out to every real estate brokerage websites through the IDX exchange. This is why the inventory that you see on a brokerage website like ZipRealty.com or Coldwell Banker or any of the brokerages is the ACTUAL inventory that really is for sale. Zillow and Trulia don’t report when a home goes under agreement or sells in a timely manner or fashion. If you have ever found a home on Zillow and then asked your real estate agent to see it, they tell you it’s already under agreement or sold. Those rival commercials you see on TV from Zillow and Realtor.com are true!! Don’t be the “not you” character on the Realtor.com commercial! Stick with a brokerage website with the real inventory and you may just get into your home.
WHAT DOES ZILLOW and TRULIA DO WITH YOUR INFORMATION?
They sell it to us!!! Zillow has become a power house as a lead generation tool for us real estate agents. When you go to Zillow or Trulia and put in a request for info on a home, they sell that information or “lead” to real estate agents. Real estate agents pay $100’s of dollars a month to Zillow and Trulia to get your information and they turn around and send your information to many different real estate agents which is why you get inundated with calls and emails all of a sudden. Then because you may want to see a few homes, you keep hitting the button to see a home and get even more agents contacting you so you find yourself never using the same realtor twice! This is another huge mistake which is a by-product of using Zillow or Trulia. You’re buying a home that cannot be returned in 30 days so it’s important for you, the home buyer, to work with a real estate agent you like and trust. So my advice to you is find one agent and stick with them. Unless of course you don’t like them, then find another. You will have one agent that is setting up your visits, letting you know if the home you saw on Zillow is actually for sale or is already under agreement or sold, representing, advising, counseling you all along the way.
Remember, the reason Zillow and Trulia don’t want to mark a property as under agreement very quickly is because they are SELLING YOUR INFORMATION to us real estate agents. If homes go under agreement quickly (and they are), they won’t have any leads to send the real estate agents. This is exactly why such a high % of the homes you want to see aren’t available anymore!!!!
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