Friday, October 7, 2011

Online information for 10% of homes for sale, is incorrect!

A Trulia study reviewed 1.2 million homes for sale on 250 real estate sites and compared them to the MLS data.  They found incorrect information on 120k of these online homes for sale.  ie. 1 out of every 10 homes for sale or 10% of the all listings reviewed were incorrect!

Here are some examples of inaccurate information.  The price was the biggest factor and the status of the listing being a close second.  More than 2/3rd of the errors (69%)  were a result of third party syndication.  The report claims that the errors were significantly reduced when the local MLSs syndicated the data directly.  Now Trulia only studied specific data on homes for sale - so they did not dive into the realm of inaccurate home descriptions or worse still, the inaccuracies in the market value calculations done by some real estate websites.

It is frustrating to find and fall in love with a home online, only to find that it is no longer for sale - or is listed at a price that is incorrect - or to know that the square footage includes the basement in one case and not in another.  Which sites get syndicated data directly from the MLS (therefore having smaller chances of error) and which ones do not?  Even as full time Realtors we cannot track this and keep up with the changes on these websites.  How can consumers cope?   Another question I have raised before - how unbiased can the information on these websites be? 

The study further strengthens my stand on these online sources of real estate information.  Use them to get a feel for the market and what's out there - check out what your neighbors are doing and get educated.   When you are ready to buy or sell - engage the services of a trusted local Realtor! 

More articles on real estate websites.

What inaccuracies have you discovered in your searches?  Is your experience consistent with the findings of the study?

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