Redfin recently did an extensive study on the reliability of third-party websites such as Zillow and Trulia in regards to active listings and pricing. They compared these sites to their own and 2 other brokerages. They chose 10 different cities where Trulia and Zillow both have direct MLS access to make the study as fair as possible. you can read the full article here.
This is an important study because so many consumers use either Trulia or Zillow to not only find homes but also to judge their value. One of the most important findings is that over 35% of both Trulia’s and Zillow’s current listings are no longer on the market. This is a problem for a couple of reasons. Firstly clients are using these websites to determine the value of their own homes before putting them on the market, and if 35% of the homes they are comparing aren’t even available, the value they come up with will be off. This makes us as Realtors look bad when we come up with a different number to present to the sellers. Secondly, when clients are finding “for sale” houses on Trulia or Zillow, it is hard to explain that they are not actually available. On the complete opposite side of this Problem Trulia and Zillow are both slower to get new listings and don’t always have all of the new listings available, both under 81% of listings available.
Trulia and Zillow are both great for other things, they have really pretty and user friendly sites, you can find neighborhood information and crime statistics. But if you want to find a house, use your broker’s website, its faster and more reliable.