Thursday, December 13, 2007

MLS? Zillow? Trulia?

I ran across a blog post by Jay Thompson regarding a story in the Wall Street Journal about on-line home searches. He noted that in his area the WSJ had it wrong. He researched the numbers for the local MLS, Trulia and Zillow. His findings were that Zillow only showed about 10-31% of the listings shown on the MLS, and that Trulia only had between 69-90%.

So, I decided that I should take a look at a few zones in Gwinnett County.

  • For 30087, I came up with 442 (FMLS), 457 (Zillow), and 482 (Trulia)

Hhmm… That seems odd. Reviewing 10 of the 33 pages of Trulia, I couldn’t find ANY FSBOs. How can they have more? Well, about 20% of the listings seem to have been sold or expired (and not relisted). I found a similar percentage on Zillow. This was based on a sampling. Furthermore, I found homes on FMLS that were not listed on either Trulia or Zillow. Trulia was a little more accurate.

  • Next up, 30043. 842 (FMLS), 467 (Zillow), and 447 (Trulia)

But wait… there are still expired listings from agents, and homes that have already sold but not been updated in the system. I am finding some interesting listings, too. For example, there is a $7.9M property on Zillow (make me move…) that isn’t on the MLS.

  • Finally, 30518… 576 (FMLS), 419 (Trulia), and 3673 (Zillow)

What? Ok, now I’m seeing something. Not one of the properties on the first page is in the MLS. Wow, they must have a lot of listings to peruse. Why would anyone use the MLS? Oh, wait… Several ARE in the MLS, just not in the ZIP code that I searched. All of the first page are listed in multiple ZIP codes on Zillow. So, how many houses are acually listed by Zillow in 30518? I don’t know, and I’m not going to wade through them to find out. But, if I were searching for a property in Buford, GA, I’d be a little annoyed that I had to wade through homes in Chamblee (15 miles and 45 minutes away), and Dallas (GA… but still over an hour away) to find houses that were actually in the area I was looking.

So, Lane, what do you think?

I think that Zillow sucks. I’ve done a previous post about their absolute lack of accuracy in their Zestimates in this area. Trulia is a much better choice here, but still not likely to give the latest up to date info, nor all of the options. FMLS is a better choice.

If you want to find a home in Gwinnett County, let me know. I can set you up on a search within FMLS that will go to a custom website… just for you. It’s called the Client Gateway.

Lane.Bailey on Yahoo IM

Or you can email me through my contact form at GarageHomesUSA (When I post my direct email, I get spammed. I apologize in advance for the extra step).

I look forward to hearing from you.

1 comment:

Lane Bailey said...

Just doing a quick survey of the same areas that I looked at with Zillow and Trulia shows 128 listings in 30087 (400+ in the MLS). Most of them are foreclosures that are available on other sites.

30043 doesn't have the same issue of being just foreclosures in a couple of neighborhoods, but there are only 176 listings v. 800+ in the MLS.

30518 yielded 138 listings. MLS shows 576. I recognize a few of the homes as being agent represented, so I know that those aren't FSBO.

I guess I don't get it. Why search within a limited site for properties unless they are properties that you won't find elsewhere? These are some of the properties that are on the MLS, but not all. Not a very good deal for buyers if they are just seeing a limited selection, and not a great deal for sellers... less traffic that the sites that show more of the available listings. You also might read this post ( before you drop $500 with these folks.

Thanks for your comment.