if not helpful at the very least, to understand what these sites are and what their primary purpose is.

Are these sites (realtor.com, Trulia, Zillow, Yahoo Real Estate, etc.) here to sell your house? Well, in a word NO! Does it happen? Sure, but less than 7% of the time. The primary focus is to generate traffic to their sites, the more eyeballs on the site the more they can charge their advertisers and the more money they make - which is perfectly fine, but as a consumer or an agent it is important to understand that distinction - they are only concerned with making money, not the sale of a house. One part of this that has always seemed sort of sinister (clever but sinister) is that these sites generate their traffic due to listings, listings provided by agents, then turn around and "sell" that activity to advertisers and even sell "leads" back to agents (agents willing to pay for them). You see, without that site inventory they would of course have nothing to sell - kind of a weird "relationship".

The most practical part of this topic to consider is the accuracy of the listings. After all how much good does it do to study data that is not completely accurate. Wouldn't it make more sense to look at listings on the most accurate databases? Most syndicate sites display the millions of listings they have in their database, but what cannot be ignored is that not all of those listings are still active, many have been sold, not all the pricing is accurate, not all the pictures are updated. It generally takes 1 to 3 full days at a minimum for that kind of info to update IF it gets updated at all. You might notice on some of these sites they say listings updated in the last 5 minutes or something similar. I think most people take that to mean every listing has just been updated, but that's not what they really said. If only 10% of listings were updated in the last 5 minutes you can honestly say that "listings" were updated in the last however many minutes. Not every listing was or can be updated every set number of minutes.There are many other factors that can and do affect the accuracy of national syndicate sites. Bottom line is that not all you're seeing is up-to-date.

BTW - if someone is moving to DFW, why would you care that Trulia has 3.7 million listings all over the county, I guess that is great if you are in fact moving "everywhere". Why not go to the most accurate source that is focused on where you are actually moving.

So, what is the best way to actually search for a property? Even if you don't have a qualified agent to represent you in your efforts at this time, you should find a local agent site and search MLS from their site (most every agent has the ability to search MLS from their site - whether you want to register to search is your choice, there are many sites that will let you search without registration). These IDX (Internet Data Exchange) feeds are generally always more accurate that national sites in every aspect. Understand that even those sites are not completely accurate. Sometimes those third party IDX companies make mistakes, have technical problems, etc. that affect their accuracy. Also understand that some brokers / listers do not want their listigs advertised on any site which doesn't make a lot of sense - this is typically done to provide some level of exclusivity, or privacy. There may be other reasons, but either way, you won't see the house. So the only way to know everything going on in the market is have your agent provide/confirm the most accurate info available via their direct access to the MLS root database.

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