There are many ways to search for properties on the Internet. Looking at houses online can be fun and exciting even before you decide to buy or sell or find an agent to represent you. In fact, there is so much too look at online that it can be overwhelming, especially when you are finally ready to buy. Let me break it down for you.
A Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a database where real estate agents communicate information about properties for sale and lease. When a property is added to MLS, it is officially “on the market.”
Keller Williams Property Search allows you to search MLS like an agent.
My Keller Williams App works like MLS on your phone. This is especially helpful when you’re walking/biking/driving around and notice a “for sale” sign – the app allows you to pull up any listings around you using GPS.
Realtor.com is owned and operated by the National Association of Realtors. It is the most complete collection of available properties on the Internet, because it procures listings from all of the regional MLSs nationwide. That means this site is always accurate and up to date. However, because only real estate agents can enter properties onto MLS, Realtor.com does not provide “for sale by owner” listings.
Zillow allows users to search for available properties from MLS and any listings uploaded by others – including “for sale by owner” properties. Information from MLS does not get updated automatically, however, so the information may be dated and inaccurate. As for their famous “Zestimates”, these are calculated using a formula based on tax information from public records, sales information, and even input from users. But be careful – property values are not so formulaic and “Zestimates” could be based on outdated tax assessments and incorrect information!
Trulia is alike to Zillow, but does not include “for sale by owner” listings. Same forewarnings go for both sites, as there are third party sources of real estate information. Zillow just recently bought Trulia, but it is yet to be seen how that affects the functionality of either site.
All of these various tools have valuable applications as well as certain limitations. So what do you do?
We can sit down and figure out what you are really looking for! Let me know your likes, dislikes, wants, and needs. I am already keeping a keen eye on what’s coming and going on the real estate market, so I will be able to monitor and filter out the properties that will truly interest you.
You can choose to be as involved or as hands-off as you wish. You can keep browsing your favorite search sites on your own and let me know when something catches your eye (if I haven’t pointed it out yet!). Don’t feel like searching at all? Then don’t – that’s what I am for.