Today, your average real estate consumer is looking for their first or next home on the internet. The growth of the real estate market online has brought a lot of great improvement to the industry.
Things like universal access to listings, abundance of information, and increased exposure for realtors are all trademarks of the modern online real estate market.
If you’ve done any house hunting in the last 5 years or so, you’re probably familiar with the following companies: Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia.
All three of these websites allow anyone anywhere to search for any available real estate that has been syndicated to their platforms. It’s not uncommon to find the same listing on all three of those listing sites.
While having any listing available to anyone at any time seems great, there are certain drawbacks to utilizing a National Online Real Estate Listing Service (NORELS).
You’re Utilizing an “Agent” Marketplace, Not a Housing Marketplace
When you’re on one of those NORELS, you’re not seeing just the available homes, you’re seeing who is paying to have their listings featured or have their name featured. The large syndication sites are pay to play marketplaces where the highest bidder gets their homes and faces listed first/second/third, depending on how much they’re bidding. It’s essentially an advertising platform.
So alongside all their available listings, you’re also seeing agents, brokers, and listing agents who are paying to show up.
Ultimately, that’s not the best way to get an unbiased view of what’s available on the market and who you should work with. When you start your real estate search, you shouldn’t be ushered down one avenue or another because someone could afford to pay for it: you should work with someone who has expertise in the location you want to buy in.
Evaluations Aren’t Very Accurate
One of the major draws to the these platforms is their ability to offer a home estimate without even having to see or evaluate your home.
While these estimates are great, they’re not necessarily accurate. The Zillow Zestimate, for example, doesn’t take into account property tax evaluations, turnover rate, or other comparable data sets to get a truly accurate home price estimate. Often times, they don’t have any local knowledge to really back up those pricing estimates.
This is one of the biggest reasons to work with a local Bryan/College Station realtor – they know what is going on in the area you’re buying in.
Ultimately, if you’re selling, this could be an issue.
Zero Local Expertise
The biggest overall issue with shopping for your house on Zillow, Trulia, or Realtor.com is the fact that you’re going to get little to no local expertise.
Those national brands simply can’t provide on-the-ground expertise in every single real estate market in the country. When you’re working with a local realtor, you get access to expertise, insight, and advice that you simply can’t get with a larger national brand. This means that you’re going to miss out on opportunities that you might otherwise realize.
Long story short, work with a local realtor and get the most out of your real estate experience.