There’s always something to howl about

My client went shopping for houses on, and only 75% of those she found were bogus listings…

My note to her: “Trulia and Zillow both present inactive listings as though they were active to fool the public into thinking that they have more inventory than the agents they exploit for advertising money, even though their listings come straight from the MLS systems. Mere real estate brokers would be fined out of business for pulling these stunts.”

Despair you nothing, though, hard-working dogs. Every time Trulia or Zillow are caught pulling these bait-and-switch stunts, one more active real estate shopper is turned off of their sites forever. Nice going, suits…


11 Comments so far

  1. Justin Robins March 15th, 2013 11:55 am

    There is nothing that drives me nuts more than zillow or trulia! Zillow is the worst, because I have seen a lot of foreclosures with a guestimate on price that isn’t even close to what the bank will actually list the home for. Then you get clients wanting to see this home that doesn’t actually exist at that price. Just creates a huge mess and headache.

  2. Curtis Van Carter March 15th, 2013 12:06 pm

    I am elated you took the time to research this and pointed this out. It happens way tooooooooooooo much. cheers cvc

  3. Cyndi March 16th, 2013 9:32 am

    A lot of listings found on these, and other Internet sites, may show as Active to the general public even though we have placed them in Backup. Backup status means that a home is still active in that the contingencies have not yet been met or that we are continuing to take offers. Once a home goes into Pending status, it no longer shows up as Active anywhere UNLESS that home was placed on these sites by the OWNER, not a Realtor. If an owner never deletes his home from that site, it will continue to show as Active. Ok, yes, I admit, there are unethical agents out there who do NOT take their status off Active as they want the marketing to continue and the phone calls to continue, but even they are forced to do so when they place it as Sold since the MLS can fine them

  4. Ray Smiley March 19th, 2013 7:10 am

    Good job on exposing this Greg. It’s terrible when my clients see this as well. This shouldn’t be happening, its a terrible dishonest tactic.

  5. Anonymous March 20th, 2013 5:13 pm

    I wish I had a dollar for every time a buyer called me to tell me about a property they “found” on a public site, only to be crestfallen when I checked the status in the MLS.

  6. […] Here’s a re-blog from realtor Greg Swan who writes today in his acerbic […]

  7. Bob Jenkins March 20th, 2013 6:36 pm

    Greg, this is a timely post. Thanks. I re-blogged the core of it on my own blog . . . with due credit to you and a link back to the Hound. Here’s my post:

  8. Michael Sosnowski March 28th, 2013 5:49 pm

    Add to this the scams coming from Hotpads. Just this last week we were contacted by two people who saw a property we had UNDER CONTRACT that was listed on this site as a rental – and they received an email about renting it. Of course the email asked for personal information to make the scam work.

    Is this really how we want the industry to work?

  9. Mark Hide March 30th, 2013 3:50 pm

    I agree, both Zillow and Trulia drive me crazy. I tell my buyers not to go there. They are full of wrong misleading information and I am sick of their sales reps calling me and want me to advertise with them.

  10. Dave Barnes March 31st, 2013 9:01 am

    As someone (a nerd) who lives in a neighborhood, I find Zillow to be accurate about what is available.

    I know because I walk the streets almost every day.

    The one place where Zillow falls short is in not showing houses that are available because the builder has not placed them into the MLS. Most of the new construction in my neighborhood is selling “before foundation”. Many new builds never go into the MLS.

    Zillow includes V-flyer houses and that means it has more listings than the MLS.

  11. Greg Swann March 31st, 2013 11:52 am

    > I find Zillow to be accurate about what is available.

    You can compare Zillow’s listings (or Trulia’s) to the signs on your street, but, lacking access to the MLS, you will not know which of those homes have already closed, are under contract to be sold or have been temporarily withdrawn from the market. The RealtyBots have this information from their MLS feeds, they are just deliberately withholding it from you to make their inventories of listings look fuller. This is why 6 out of the 8 houses my client found were unavailable, because the RealtyBots are playing bait-’n’-switch games with MLS listings. As an example of good citizenship in this regard, Redfin scrubs its MLS listings for updates every 15 minutes.