There is no doubt that Zillow is one of the best Real Estate websites ever produced. The user experience on Zillow is excellent and it is full of useful information, this is why it has become the most popular Real Estate website in the world. Trulia runs a close 2nd to Zillow for having an extremely well-polished consumer interface.
They both have invested millions into website development and many people across the country use them everyday. In February 2015 Zillow bought Trulia. Most industry professionals expected the merger to cause the real estate giants to dominate the online space even more than they had. But then came April 2015 and that day completely changed the usability of Zillow/Trulia in the Triangle area and across the country. It’s is a little bit political and convoluted but Zillow/Trulia no longer receive feeds from our Triangle MLS and most other MLS’s across the nation.
So What Happened?
To fully understand the story, you need to know what an “MLS” is and why it is important. A MLS, or Multiple Listing Service is the central database for REALTORS® in a certain area that they use to post properties for sale and collect local real estate data. Every MLS is different they use different software, vendors, and data styles to serve their area. This makes gathering data across the country a nightmare for large websites. The largest company gathering this data is ListHub.
ListHub used to supply the MLS data to Zillow, Trulia, and many other national websites. Virtually every MLS in the county has an agreement with ListHub to access their data. In 2014, Realtor.com (owned not by the National Association of REALTORS but by News International and one of Zillow’s main competitors) bought ListHub. Now that Realtor.com owns ListHub, they have a monopoly on the MLS data flow. Zillow had a contract with ListHub to supply them with national MLS data, which is where Zillow has always received the majority of the listing information on their website.
Zillow’s contract with ListHub expired and did not renew. Realtor.com’s move to cut Zillow/Trulia off from the ListHub MLS feed for good. Zillow was forced to quickly scramble and create contracts with each individual MLS throughout the country to keep receiving new listing data. As there are hundreds of MLS companies throughout the U.S., so this hurt Zillow/Trulia badly.
A number of MLS’s came to agreements with Zillow/Trulia, putting them back to business as usual. However many did not, including Triangle MLS. There is no word of when, or if, they will ever come to an agreement. For this reason, all the data that you see on Zillow for the Triangle area will now will be coming from other sources, not from our local MLS. Many homes will not even be listed on there. Some info will be uploaded directly by local REALTORS®, while other data may be taken from small 3rd party sites. The bottom line is that ZILLOW NO LONGER HAS ACCURATE LISTING DATA IN THE TRIANGLE.
How Does This Affect You As The Consumer?
When looking at homes for sale it is extremely important to having accurate data. If you’re seriously looking to buy a house, often your emotions run high and every property online is a potential new home for you. Imagine looking for hours, days, weeks, or even months, and then you find the perfect home on Zillow. The home is perfect, it has everything you have been looking for. You reach out to your local real estate agent, only to find out that this home was sold months ago. It happens more times than you will imagine. Sometimes the listings are not even real and were entered by a salesperson who is trying to collect people’s information. When listings are inaccurate it harms local home buyers and sellers. Possibly worse still is that the perfect home for you is not even listed on Zillow and your dream home is gone to someone else before you knew it was available.
So Where Should You Look If Not On Zillow?
The good news is that there is a website that allows you to search for homes all over North Carolina. The website pulls data on a regular basis, takes off the expired listings, and is updated within 15 minutes of a listing being entered. Using http://www.smithgrouprealtyllc.com allows you direct access to all of those listings without the tangled Zillow web. Not only does it service the Triangle, but also Sanford, Fayetteville, and other parts of North Carolina.
When Zillow received up-to-date info, they were a great choice for Triangle consumers. Now they are very inaccurate and risky to use. Since Reatlor.com now owns ListHub and is not sharing the data, they have become the premier national website to view homes across the country. I hear from clients often that they do not like the platform as much as Zillow though. Trulia and Homes.com are also national options, but neither are receiving direct MLS info.
Check out the Adcock and Associates Real Estate and Auction company website. The options are plenty! If you want to list your house, we would be happy to give your home the combined National MLS treatment as well! Call Matt Price, Realtor (919) 614-6288. Living in Fuquay Varina and knowing the area around – we have experience matching buyers with your home.
Come see what we know!