Zillow, Trulia and Vail Valley Real Estate

As Vail Valley Real Estate Agents, part of our job is maintaining our listings on Trulia, Zillow and other syndicated web sites.  Here are some items we have noticed when dealing with these syndicators:

“Zestimates” range from inaccurate to the laughably off the mark.  So much so, we are having trouble figuring out how they are determined.  Part of being a licensed Vail Valley real estate agent is preparing Broker’s Price Opinions (BPOs).  A well-prepared BPO relies on comparable sales data, market conditions and a look at the home itself.  A syndicator’s sales data and market information are likely incomplete to begin with, and, to the best of our knowledge, Zillow doesn’t visit Vail Valley homes for sale.

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Property Information is sometimes inaccurate.  As licensed Realtors, we either adhere to a Code of Ethics or lose our license.  As members in good standing of our local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), we either provide accurate listing information or pay a fine.  Syndicated sites are bound by no such restriction.  In fact, under the more-traffic-equals-more-money* value system of these web sites, there is absolutely no incentive to provide accurate data – only more of it.

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Property Status is often behind the curve. Sometimes, homes listed for sale on Trulia, Zillow and the rest have already been sold.  Updates to syndicators can be slow in coming and can sometimes include inaccurate information from outside (and sometimes dated) sources.  We have been told it can take as many as nine days for a syndicated listing site to respond to an update. The Rocky Mountain Home Team is unable to vouch for that, as we consider it part of our job to ensure our listings are as up to date as possible no matter where they appear.  We owe it to our sellers to do more than wait for Trulia to find our latest price adjustment!

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None of this is to say Trulia, Zillow and other syndicators are to be avoided at all costs. (Except their price suggestions – those ARE to be avoided at all costs!)  So long you don’t rely on details such as price, property information, or whether or not the home is actually on the market, it is perfectly acceptable to “window shop.”  On the other hand, our own Vail Valley MLS listings search is a 100% free, no obligation way “window shop” Vail Valley Real Estate without worrying about the hassle of inaccurate data.

*Link is to Trulia’s Media Kit. Note the focus of the first three pages of the document is on site traffic.

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