All Real Estate Searches
Today in real estate, searching for homes for sale on the internet has become a commodity. Truth is, although most home buyers feel that all real estate websites have the same listings, it’s simply not true.
Different Types of Real Estate Websites
There are a variety of different types of real estate websites. You have the standard website put up by the real estate agent. In raw numbers, this makes up the lion’s share of real estate websites. In addition to the individual agent sites, you have the real estate broker sites. These sites are not as much as personal branding, but company branding. In many instances, there is a larger budget and a more robust web platform at the broker level. This is not always the case as some REALTORS invest heavily in their web presence and some broker fall short. We also have the 3rd party aggregators. These have been the big disruptor in real estate online over the last few years. These sites are not owned by real estate practices at all — but are marketing platforms using real estate listings to drive traffic to the site. These types of sites get a ton of traffic, most of which you will be familiar with such as Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, Movoto — and the list goes on. The last version of real estate website we have is the franchise website. This is a website put up by national brands such as Remax, Century 21, Keller Williams and the like. Technically, these sites are brand names that local real estate brokers buy into to acquire brand recognition, tools and services. The franchise companies, for the most part, are not real estate brokers — they license their tools, services and brand recognition for a small portion of the revenue generated at the local level. Each of these different types of real estate websites acquire the listing data (all of the properties shown from their search) in different ways. Some more accurate than others.
Real Estate Listing Data
Listing data is simply the database of active (and in sometimes sold) properties that are available. This database is used to return results when a potential home buyers searches for homes for sale. Needless to say, the accuracy of this listing data is crucial for providing a quality real estate search online. Many people are under the impression that somewhere in “internet world” is this all accurate source of all listings….this is simply not true. Truth is, listing data is compiled at the local level at the MLS or Multiple Listing Service. The US has almost 900 independent MLSs and they DO NOT talk to each other. As a general rule, the MLS data is considered the most accurate representation of all of the homes for sale in any particular market. With over 90% of all homes sold having some interaction, either on the buyer side or the sold side with a real estate agent, those listings get put into the local MLS.
What Real Estate Data Powers Which Websites?
Its understandable that many home buyers think that the largest real estate websites will have the most inventory to show. It’s also understandable that the average home-buyer would think they only see a specific brokers listings on their website. As an example, you don’t see Toyota’s cars for sale on Ford’s website…why would you see Remax’s listings on Keller Williams? Truth is — its the smaller, local websites that have the most accurate data. With the local MLS being the “gold standard” for real estate data, it’s important to know that generally, only members of the Multiple Listing Service have direct access to that information. Since each MLS is independently run, they each independently decide if they give their listing data to outside sources — such as real estate franchises or 3rd party aggregatetors like Zillow. Although many MLSs do provide their data to 3rd parties, there are hundreds of MLSs across the country that do not. For those areas, the only place where the home buyer can see the “gold standard” of homes for sale is on a local broker or local real estate agent website. In the markets where the MLS doesn’t allow 3rd party access, websites such as Zillow and Movoto can have agents manually upload their listings or in some instances they can get a data feed of each independent agent or broker. This leaves huge holes of listings and inaccuracies of listing data. If an agent chooses to manually put their listing on a 3rd party aggregatetor, they must update that listing (manually) if the price changes or if the property goes under contract or gets sold. This is why you see so many outdated listings on the major nationwide real estate portals. Franchises, generally get their listing data from the franchisees in the particular marketplace. The largest owner of real estate franchises is Realogy. Realogy owns the real estate brands Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA, Better Homes and Gardens, Sothebys and Zap. Because these are some of the largest franchises in the US, they have at their access all of the listings put that all of their franchisees get. This is done through CREST — which the system of payment and listing data for Realogy. This lets all of Realogy’s franchisees share data on their websites — but in many instances, they don’t have “other brokers” listings.
The Best Source of Listings
Although we are seeing major changes in the way real estate data moves real estate data around, such as the Realty Alliance project called Upstream, we still have a very disjointed system for displaying real estate listings online. Each local real estate market will have different rules, so you may or may not get all of the listings on the major real estate portals. All of that being said, the only way to insure that you see all of the homes for sale in your real estate search is to use a local real estate broker or agent’s website. In most instances, they get their database of listings directly from the local MLS — and update quite regularly. The only listings you won’t see there are the for sale by owner homes — and there is absolutely no consistency in how those are marketed.
At the end of the day, if you want to insure that you see the newest listings as soon as they hit the market and you want to make sure you are not looking at properties that have already sold, you best bet is a local real estate website.
Take Advantage of the Best Search For Homes For Sale in Picayune MS