Full disclosure: The Tim is employed by Redfin.
Earlier this month, Redfin released the results of an in-depth study of real estate listing accuracy across various websites, including Redfin, Windermere, Zillow, and Trulia. The results will not surprise anyone who has attempted to do any serious home searching on these sites, but I still wanted to share the Seattle results of the study.
As you would expect, the MLS-powered sites (Redfin and Windermere) matched the MLS almost perfectly. The other sites… not so much.
First up, the study looked at how many MLS-listed homes appear on each site. In Seattle, Trulia was missing 37% of the listings, and Zillow was missing 28%.
Next, the study looked at how long it took between when a home was listed on the MLS and when it appeared on each site. Trulia’s median delay in the Seattle area was 10 days, and Zillow’s median delay was 5 days.
Finally, the study looked at what percentage of “for sale” listings were not really for sale. This only counted homes that the sites claimed were agent-listed and still active. When you search on Zillow or Trulia for homes “for sale,” they both return many homes that are actually just at some point in the foreclosure process, and are not for sale. These were not counted against them. Nor were homes marked as pending counted against them, even though there was no way to filter those homes out of a search of homes “for sale.” Even after all of these exceptions, there were still 32% of the listings on Trulia and 19% of the listing on Zillow that were not really for sale. There were two listings shown on Windermere as for sale that were not really still for sale.
Yes, I am employed by Redfin and it is obviously in our interest to make these claims. However, you could do the same experiment in nearly any area that has a decent MLS-powered site and get basically these same results. In fact I encourage you to do so. Don’t take my word for it, see the results for yourself.
And while my biased opinion is that Redfin has the best features and the most user-friendly site, you don’t need to use Redfin to get this advantage. Here in the Seattle area we have more choices than nearly any other part of the country when it comes to accurate home search. Redfin, Windermere, John L. Scott, Estately… The list goes on and on.
Here’s the bottom line: If you are a serious home shopper and you are not searching on an MLS-powered site, you aren’t really a serious home shopper.
REMINDER – Full disclosure: The Tim is employed by Redfin.