Be Aware When Using Zillow and Trulia

Be Aware When Using Zillow and Trulia

  • Carpenter | Kessel Real Estate
  • 02/16/22

Now more than ever with the influx of agents and inventory, Zillow / Trulia are not the portals to find the most current listings with accurate real estate data. As real estate agents know, our livelihoods depend on the accuracy of the data we analyze for our clients, and for that reason, I’m begging you to please stop searching for real estate on nationwide portals like Trulia and Zillow! Here are some reasons why buyers, in particular, should stay away from these websites.

Slow Real Estate Search Results

National portals like Trulia and Zillow are slow to show new listings and when they do show listings, the listing info from actual square footage to amenities included is inaccurate. When a property is listed for sale it hits the local MLS in a matter of minutes but can take as long as 9 days to populate to nationally syndicated sites according to studies on the subject. To Buyers ready to pounce 9 days might as well be 3 months. By the time a buyer sees the listing, sees the property, and submits an offer sufficient time will have passed that there could be one or more competitive bids, or quite possibly the property could have sold already. As a seasoned real estate agent, I know how important timing is. Getting a buyer into a listing even 24 hours later than your competitors can cause you to miss out on great deals.

Bad Data

The real estate company Redfin was hired recently to assess the accuracy of sites like Trulia and Zillow and their study found that approximately 36% of the listings shown as active on Zillow and Trulia were no longer for sale in the local MLS, compared with almost 0% on local brokerage websites. The study further found that brokerage-sourced listings using their local MLS feed displayed 100% of the MLS homes listed for sale on their websites but Trulia only displayed 81% and Zillow 79%. So let me summarize – over 1/3rd of the listings you are seeing are not actually for sale and you only get to see 4/5th of the listings that are actually for sale. Obviously, anyone searching for properties in a city would like to have access to all of the listings that are for sale and none of the ones that aren’t.

Misleading Advertising

Another common complaint from users of websites like Trulia and Zillow is the misleading nature of their advertising of listings. Real estate agents are allowed to purchase advertisements that appear prominently next to listings that are not theirs to mislead the buyer into contacting the advertising agent while the buyer mistakenly believes they are contacting the listing agent. Some buyers would prefer to receive property information from the listing agent because they feel he or she is more knowledgeable about the property.

What’s My House Worth? (Don’t Ask Zillow)

Zillow offers an opinion of a listed house value called a Zestimate and it is prominently displayed on each property’s listing page. Unfortunately, the Zestimate values aren’t even close to the actual values that the properties sell for. If you’re wondering why I say this it’s because, to Zillow’s credit, they actually publicize the accuracy of their Zestimates city by Metro areas. To measure the accuracy of the Zestimate Zillow compares the actual home sale prices of homes with their Zestimate and they’ve found that the Zesimtate® is within 5% of the actual sale price around 33% of the time and within 10% of the sale price around 50% of the time. The actual data for each city can be found by clicking here. Florida metro areas are the worst on the list for accuracy. The only way for a true property evaluation is to have an expert in your market area provide you with an in-depth home evaluation. If you are curious as to your home’s value in Brevard County, click here: My Home’s Value

Check out this video from our Sales Partner, Shane Burgman, as he talks more about Zillow’s Zestimate®

What To Do?

For buyers in need of accurate and timely data, national search portals like Trulia and Zillow are not as reliable as other options available. Instead of searching for properties' national search portals, buyers should focus on smaller, local brokerage-based websites like and establish a relationship with Kirk or DeWayne who are full-time with up to the minute information for listings on the market and listings soon to be on the market. These steps will assure that you are getting the most accurate and up-to-date information and will give you a competitive advantage over those who are searching for real estate with websites like Trulia and Zillow. Start your own accurate search here and sign up for automatic updates: Brevard MLS Search

The best way to stay on top of available properties is to submit your criteria to us and be added to our buyer database. Our buyers are many times the first people to see new listings on the market! Submit your “wish list” here: Contact Us

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it advised against using Zillow and Trulia for real estate searches?

Zillow and Trulia often provide slow and inaccurate real estate search results. New listings can take up to 9 days to populate on these platforms, causing potential buyers to miss out on properties. Additionally, data accuracy is an issue, with around 36% of the active listings shown on these platforms no longer for sale in the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Find our own Listings by checking out our own Home Search Listings by Carpenter Kessel Team

How accurate are the property listings on Zillow and Trulia?

A study by Redfin found that 36% of the listings shown as active on Zillow and Trulia were no longer for sale in the local MLS. Additionally, only around 81% and 79% of MLS homes listed for sale are displayed on Trulia and Zillow respectively. So, not all available listings are shown, and some displayed are no longer for sale.

What issues have been reported regarding advertising on Zillow and Trulia?

Users have reported misleading advertising on these platforms. Real estate agents can buy advertisements that appear next to listings that are not theirs, leading buyers to mistakenly contact the advertising agent instead of the actual listing agent.

How accurate is Zillow's Zestimate when determining a house's worth?

Zillow's Zestimate tends to be inaccurate. Zillow's own data shows that the Zestimate is within 5% of the actual sale price about 33% of the time and within 10% of the sale price about 50% of the time. For an accurate evaluation, it's recommended to consult an expert in your market area.

What is recommended for buyers who need accurate and timely data?

It is advised that buyers use smaller, local brokerage-based websites and establish relationships with full-time agents who have access to up-to-date listing information. It's also recommended to sign up for automatic updates and submit your criteria to be added to a buyer database. These steps can provide a competitive advantage over those using national search portals like Zillow and Trulia.

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