There are hundreds of real estate websites out there for buyers and sellers to research.  Real estate brokers usually have their own company website.  We are also members of a multiple listing service which is affiliated with our realtor association membership. The multiple listing service or MLS is used to advertise and market our own homes listed for sale.  In addition to the MLS we use syndication resources that send our listing information into hundreds of other real estate marketing websites that exist.  Real estate agents share their listing information and welcome other real estate agents to bring a buyer and submit contracts even if the agents work for separate real estate brokerage companies. The real estate industry is unique in this regard.

Sellers benefit from this plethora of real estate marketing and get the maximum exposure when we are trying to sell their property.  Once information on a home listing is sent out into the vast internet it exists for an unlimited amount of time.  As real estate agents, we can change the status of a home for sale from an “active” available listing to “pending” once we have a contract and then finally to “sold” once that transaction is closed.  This information is reflected in our MLS system and on our company website as the listing moves through the different stages of the sale process.  However, the different “status” changes are not sent out to the hundreds of websites that exist.  There is only one third party website that updates and is fed data directly from our MLS system.  Information is populated onto that third party real estate website every 15 minutes.

While sellers may benefit from the variety and numerous marketing opportunities, buyers can find themselves extremely frustrated.  A potential buyer might see a home listed for sale and call the real estate brokerage shown as the listing company only to find that the home has already sold.   The typical website that offers real estate information and shows homes for sale is also operating as a marketing service, which is intended to sell advertising opportunities to real estate agents.  In other words, an agent would have to have a membership for that website in order to directly input information about their own listings.  Due to the numerous real estate websites that exist, updating listing data to reflect the proper status could be a “full-time” job in itself. 

Buyers should know that searching online for homes to purchase can be fun and offer some information. However, when a buyer is serious about looking to purchase a home the best advocate for them is to find a Realtor.  The Realtor is someone working on your behalf and will have the resources to provide the most accurate and complete information on homes listed for sale.  Realtors can provide detailed information such as how long a home has been listed for sale, the pricing history and any price reductions. They can tell a buyer whether or not a listed  home is a traditional sale, a “short sale” or bank-owned home for sale.  In addition, they can give you the sales history of a home and inform you about the latest market trends in the city or neighborhood where a buyer is searching to purchase.

As with many other things on the internet, real estate websites offer information and data exists in abundance. However, sellers and buyers of real estate are best served by a professional, knowledgeable “Real” person.