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The Most Popular Property Search Websites for Home Buyers

If you have been searching for homes online, then you know the 3 top sites for real estate listings: Realtor.com, Zillow.com and Trulia.com. All 3 have their own unique differences, and you probably have your favorite, I know I do.
Zillow has only been around for less than a decade but has spawned millions of customers who feel online searching for property is a first step must. Zillow is known for their “Zestimate”, which many agents don’t find that helpful, but many home buyers like to rely on for accurate value estimates. A true estimate of a property’s value takes many factors into account, more factors than the Zillow algorithm calculates, like curb appeal, condition, upgrades, roof age etc.
Trulia is another real estate website that was also launched in 2005 (like Zillow) and this San Francisco-based site filled an important gap in the market. For years, potential homebuyers in the Bay Area were complaining about the lack of available information on property for sale in the San Francisco area and beyond. More often than not, the home prices were out of date or had been knocked up (or down) and the fact that so many sold homes were still appearing in magazines and newspapers despite saying otherwise was a source of great frustration for many property seekers in California. It was like finding gold in a valley, only to discover when you picked it up that someone else had already claimed it.
Realtor.com has a slightly less user friendly layout and appeal, but since it was born a bit earlier than it’s competitors, many people have become use to it’s functionality and are loyal to it.
Now I do need to mention 1 other platform that is quite popular with consumers and that is the Coldwell Banker home search website. Now, Coldwell Banker is a Real Estate franchise and each office is independently owned, but their website for national home searches is quite competitive to the “Big 3”. And more specifically for California, californiamoves.com is even more popular for California specific home seekers.
After you try each site for a while, you’ll find the one that fits your needs best and the one that you are most comfortable using. This, in addition to a great Realtor, should make your home searching and buying a enjoyable experience.

Have fun!!

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Comment by Pam Maglione on July 29, 2014 at 11:23am

I agree with you, to a point.  In the beginning since a lot of realtor's offices didn't provide a website to promote their listings, Zillow and Trulia were great search engines to have.  I think now a days, with so many agents not only having their company website through their broker office, agents have now even created their own.  It's not much of "specialized" item to create the site and add the properties now.  I do think that these company's probably make more then should off your property but at the same, they are the necessary evil so that you get the property sold.

Comment by Fulton Gaylord on July 29, 2014 at 10:42am

The BIGGER question is...why do we, as Realtors, allow the continued access to our listings to these third party sites?

We should STOP these feeds. We could build a true one-stop shopping place, Realtor.com, and WE could charge advertisers. Instead, from day one, we agreed to allow these 3rd party sites our listings from which they've derived HUGE profit. Time to stop. Time for the real estate community to get those profits. Sure, at one time we may have needed the exposure that 3rd party sites allowed. But no longer. And now you see the head of Realtor.com going to Trulia? And Trulia and ActiveRain are in bed together, etc., etc. Makes me sick.

I say the time has come to STOP the IDX feeds to 3rd party sites. Let's put Zillow, Willow, Pillow, and Trulia out of business. Let's take back control of our listings and the revenue they generate. Let's keep our listings and generate our own leads from them.

Comment by Marvin Von Renchler on July 28, 2014 at 12:34pm

Well Zillow is purchasing Trulia, Im very sad to say. Zillow is a big PITA. It causes a lot of confusion and doesnt give accurate information. It should stop its estimates of value. I dont even think it should be legal for them to offer values. Trulia offers more for agents socially with its blogs and question/answers section for the public but its just a big spider web designed to mine leads. At least it had some values to us instead of causing problems. Im sick over Zillows taking Trulia---maybe the combination will prove beneficial.

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