If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll recall that recently I’ve been doing a run-down of various websites and their importance to real estate agents operating in this digital age (links to the previous articles are at the end of this one). There are a more sites out there that Realtors should be aware of, though, so today I’m going to give a quick wrap-up of some other major sites I have neglected to mention, as well as my thoughts on them.
Trulia is a dedicated real estate website in the vain of Zillow, and pretty much everything I said about Zillow applies to it. In fact, Zillow purchased Trulia a while back, and they’re closely linked on the back end, so really they’re more like sister entities than separate sites completely. Much of what you do on Zillow automatically carries over to Trulia, which is very efficient, though you’ll definitely want a dedicated Trulia page for the things that don’t. Once you set it up, Zillow and Trulia are so closely linked that there isn’t much difference between them.
Oh, and here’s my Trulia page if you’d like to check it out!
Redfin is pretty popular among consumers, operating in much the same way Zillow or Trulia does in that it gives them easy access to property info and analytics on a scale that was unimaginable a decade or so ago. The important distinction with Redfin is that it also operates as a real estate brokerage with its own team of agents. Though this is in line with the logical progression of such sites, it makes it less useful to non-Redfin agents, since the site only steers clients to agents within its own network. It is therefore something to be aware of, but really not particularly important to Realtors, unless they belong to Redfin’s network or are considering joining up. The most significant aspect of it is probably the commission structure; potential sellers bring this up from time to time in listing appointments, so learning what Redfin offers and how they structure their deals is useful when responding to this.
Not too much to say about this one, other than the fact that posting new listings there is important. It’s free, has an incredibly wide reach, and in particular is great for getting the word out about open houses. It’s a great resource to make sure as many people as possible are aware that you’re holding a home open; you might be surprised by how many people look to Craigslist first (or even only!) for such information. Also a great resource if you’re planning on getting into rentals/property management, as Craigslist’s nature as an online classified section is a natural fit for those.
If you’re a realtor, you’re aware of the MLS. Keep in mind that there’s a scaled-down version available for public use as well, so make sure your profile and info are updated on there. It’s not as flashy as Zillow and its ilk, but it is still a useful, well-known search tool (that, it’s worth noting, the other more graphically-intense search tools draw from), and should not be overlooked. Fortunately, the fact that Realtors spend so much time on their own MLS means that it’s fairly likely their contact info and whatnot will be up-to-date, since it’s a hard site to overlook.
An up-and-comer in the real estate website game, HomeFinder differs from Zillow et. al. due to its status as a sort of modern-day upgrade of the traditional, old-school method of searching for a home for sale (newspaper classified sections) with the global reach of a website. This does mean, however, that the most comprehensive info can be somewhat limited by the reach of the newspapers involved in the network. As such, the effectiveness of the site can, at least theoretically, vary by region. I admittedly don’t have a ton of experience with it yet, so I’m hardly an authority on the subject, but it’s definitely an interesting idea and something to keep an eye on.
There are vastly more real estate websites out there, each with their own quirks, user base and reach. The point, at the end of the day, is not to get bogged down in dealing with the minutiae of every single one of them, but to determine which are the most relevant for you and help serve your business the best. While it is important for real estate agents to have a strong profile at each of the major sites, and solicit positive reviews from their clients whenever possible (especially, as I’ve noted, on Yelp and Zillow), websites and online reviews are only one part of the business, albeit a very important one. By presenting the information I have across these past few articles, hopefully I can help agents optimize their time and efforts in this facet of their business; after all, phone calls and in-person meetings are still an integral part of home sales, so we can’t spend all of our time in front of the computer! If you feel there are any sites I missed that you would like me to talk about, please mention them in the comments and I would be happy to address them as well. Thanks for reading, and enjoy the rest of your day!
LINKS TO THE EARLIER INSTALLMENTS IN THIS SERIES:
PART 1: Zillow
PART 2: Yelp
PART 3: Realtor.com
PART 4: Facebook
PART 5: LinkedIn