Vail Daily column: Real estate websites have shortcomings
Ryan Summerlin May 6, 2014
I am very anxious to find a local property in a certain price range that I will buy as an investment and then rent to my daughter, until she is able to buy it herself. The lower price range (under $500,000) I am looking in seems to be quite popular and every time I think I have found something great, I discover it is already under contract, or sometimes it has already been sold before I ever knew it was on the market! I am watching diligently on Zillow and Trulia and get alerts from them, too. I talked to a real estate agent some time ago, who said he would let me know when anything came on the market in my price range, and so far I have never received a call. What do you suggest I do?
You have hit upon a subject very near and dear to my heart. In today’s highly technological world, many buyers are working harder to find their own properties, and many agents are working less with their buyers because they think the buyer will let them know when they want to look at something. Let’s take the issue of your search on third-party aggregator sites first. These sites, such as Zillow and Trulia can be useful for an overview of an area you are unfamiliar with, such as in another town or another state. Using them for up to the minute local information, however has become a huge problem in the industry. The clients/consumers (you) think you are getting up-to-date information daily on Zillow and Trulia and other similar sites, which is one of the two reasons you have not been able to find what you want in time. In reality, these sites get their information from a syndicator who gets the information from the local board of Realtors. Therefore, they are the third party in the pass down of information. The Colorado Association of Realtors held an executive session on April 8 to discuss the inaccuracy of these syndicated feed sites for real estate information. Here is some of the information presented at the meeting:
• All local direct feed Realtor websites had 100 percent of the current listings available to view.
• Third-party syndicators (i.e. Zillow and Trulia) had 79 percent to 81 percent of the current listings available to view.
• All local direct feed Realtor websites had less than 2 percent of the listings showing that were no longer for sale.
• Third-party syndicators (i.e. Zillow and Trulia) had over 36 percent of their listings showing that were no longer for sale.
• All local direct feed Realtor websites posted new listings the day they came on the market.
• Third party syndicators (i.e. Zillow and Trulia) had the new listing often appear seven to nine days after they came to the market.
In addition, some boards of Realtors around the country have chosen to either purposefully delay giving the information to the syndicators, or have chosen not to syndicate at all and therefore their listings do not show up on these syndicated sites, unless individual agents put the listings in by hand.
The second issue you have had, that has slowed down your success rate, is you have not found the right Realtor for what you need. You want a Realtor with strong local knowledge of the area you are looking in. They need to know the minute a property comes on the market, and in some cases, they know ahead of time. They can also design a portal in our MLS system so that you are notified immediately when a new listing comes on the market which meets your parameters instead of the lag that syndicators have. If you are truly a buyer, then they will find you a property that can work for you. It may take some time, but they will stay in touch and you will stay informed. Hope this helps you understand the system much better and realize that the closer you are to the source, the more accurate your information will be. Best of luck to you!
Joan Harned is an owner and broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her own real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at Joan@TeamBlackBear.com, 970-337-7777 and www.SkiAndTeeHomes.com.