I get questions all the time from confused home searchers asking about homes that are not even on the market or were on the market months or years ago.  They have been searching on Zillow for homes and there are homes that are on Zillow that aren’t on my website and there are homes on my website that aren’t on Zillow.com.

I am using Zillow as an example, but the same can be said for sites like Trulia, Yahoo real estate, and even Realtor.com.

So you don’t get confused, let me explain how difference between Zillow and IdaListings.com for example.

Zillow is a national website that doesn’t have direct access to the local MLS. Because they don’t have direct access to the MLS, they hope to get their data from individual agents that may or may not choose to syndicate their data to Zillow. So, Zillow may or may not have some listings.  There are some local companies all over the US that do not syndicate their listings to Zillow.

The same goes for removal of listings. Zillow depends on agents to remove their own listings when the listing is canceled or gets an accepted offer. Agents don’t care about the accuracy of their listings on Zillow and rarely even think about updating when the listing status changes.

Zillow’s model is to get as much data on their website as possible so that Google will send them more search traffic.  With this traffic, Zillow sells website space and profiles to real estate agents to have their ad or picture next to listings in hopes that consumers will call them for questions about a property.

Another issue that confuses home buyers is the “zestimate” that Zillow provides.  Zillow estimates the value of a home using some of the sold homes around it.  This “estimate” can be fairly accurate on some homes, but may be off by $10’s or $100’s of thousands on other homes.   It depends on the market data that Zillow has and it has more data in some markets than others.  The zestimate will never give accurate values, but is intended to be used as a very rough estimate.

There is a huge difference.

The IdaListings website is directly linked to the MLS and updated every single day. Real estate agents are fined if they do not update their listings in the MLS portal, so the motivation is there to keep things up to date. So, when a new property comes up on the market, it is listed on Idalistings. When a property gets an accepted offer and marked as so in the MLS, it is removed from Idalistings.

If you don’t want to get caught looking at homes that aren’t for sale or missing out on the best homes that come onto the market. Idalistings is a state of the art search tool that is always up to date and should be a staple in your Idaho home search.