The Problem with Zillow for Home Sellers & Buyers

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Perhaps you’ve been that home seller who had their home put on their market, and to your surprise after a day or two go by you notice that your home isn’t showing up for sale when browsing on or via the app. Or put yourself in the shoes of a home buyer, who finally finds a home that matches 94% of their criteria. They call up their agent to book a showing and what do you know, the house has been under contract for three weeks already. This sort of thing happens all the time! The question quickly becomes:

Why is it that Zillow has inaccurate listing information?

Watch this short video below by Mike for a straight explanation:

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The online search giant

Don’t get me wrong. Zillow provides a valuable service to people. The company pays lots and lots of money to their designers, programmers and developers in order to create an easy and intuitive home search solution for buyers around the world. Guess what, all that investment has paid off! Zillow is currently the #1 searched real estate portal on the planet–by a longshot! I’m not a Zillow representative, I’m just giving you the facts. It’s the main reason I make sure every listing we put on the market looks its best on Zillow.

Here’s the problem with Zillow

Licensed real estate agents have to manually input real estate listings into the Zillow database one by one. They also have to manually update them too! Zillow is NOT an automatic feed.

If you’ve watched our previous video on the importance or lack of importance of the real estate brokerage when selling your home, you’ll know what the MLS is. The MLS or Multiple Listing Service, is the database of real estate listings that all agents have access to. They can see all the homes that are on the market no matter who lists them.  This is the most complete and accurate database of homes on the market.

Do you know why it is so accurate? One main reason is because if agents have erroneous information on their listings, they can get fined a lot of money from the board. If an agent is helping a buyer find a house, they go to the MLS to find homes, they don’t go to a portal like Zillow, because they know that Zillow is not always accurate.

The MLS has cooperating websites that receive a direct and updated feed to the MLS. Zillow is not one of those cooperating websites. In fact the National Association of REALTORS® is not happy with Zillow at the moment and actually just banned them from events for REALTORS®. REALTORS® like myself can pay extra for a service that receives this direct feed to the MLS. This functionality is called IDX. In simple terms, IDX is the system that allows REALTORS® to show MLS property listings on their websites.

Here’s One Solution

When you use a local REALTOR’S® “IDX” search website, like our very own Lake Norman area home search feature, you’ll see listings directly from the Carolina MLS feed. You won’t be able to see homes in Arizona or New York, because those are not in our MLS. Many people use both hot search portals like Zillow, Realtor, or the like in addition to a local REALTOR’S® website while searching for homes, and thats okay too!

Next week we’ll talk about the dreaded “ZESTIMATE

I’ll continue to ‘shoot it straight’ and answer your questions no matter how controversial they may be.

Just shoot me an email at or call us at (704)584-9781.

If you want more of these types of videos, subscribe below and I will make sure you get to be first to watch my brutally honest commentary on real estate.  Shooting it straight with positively no baloney!

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About Mike Toste

Owner / Broker / REALTOR® Mike Toste “Lake Norman Mike” brings more than 24 years of marketing, sales and negotiating experience to the sale of your home or to the purchase of your new home…READ MORE.
Call or Text 704-584-9781
19901 W Catawba Ave #104
Cornelius, NC 28031

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