Today’s consumers often begin their home search on line. It’s important to know that not all home search websites are created equally. Each one has nuisances and variances that shoppers should be aware of. We take a look at some of the top sites and share a bit of our independent research to help guide you in your search.
MLS – Often consumers will find this as a choice to search on, but be aware that most of these sites are agent sites and not the true MLS. Our MLS – NorthstarMLS is exclusive for agents. Consumers cannot search for homes on MLS without a connection from their agent. This is the true factual detail about listings and is the tool that Realtors use in the Twin City metro area.
Realtor.com – This is our personal favorite national site. Information on this site is pulled directly from our MLS, so we know it’s accurate. Their fields match the fields on MLS. Brokers and agents are also able to update and enhance listings on this site. Note: we did find via a search “mls.com” and this leads to Realtor.com. This would be our recommended national site to search for homes.
Zillow.com/Trulia.com – These two popular sites are owned by the same company. Often their information is not accurate. They will even tell you if you dig into their site that their zestimates are not accurate. Unfortunately they do a great job of marketing and get people to search homes on their site. We just tell you to use caution as many parameters are missing when they pull information from the MLS, because their search fields do not match the MLS search fields, i.e. bathrooms may be 3¾ on MLS, but they won’t show a ¾ bathroom on their site, so it says 3 bathrooms. It’s hard to get an accurate price when you aren’t comparing all fields correctly.
LeadingRE.com/LuxuryPortfolio.com – Roger Fazendin Realtors is a member of this international network of brokers. They rank #1 in volume compared to any other national real estate chain. Their site is comprised of all listings from their members. It is a beautiful, user friendly website. Luxury Portfolio.com would allow you to search homes in upper price brackets all over the world. If you want to look to just see what’s available, we encourage you to check this one out and enjoy!
It’s important to remember that you will see agent photos to the left or right of listings, but they are usually not the true listing agent. Scroll all the way to the end of a listing and it should give you the listing agent’s name and broker. This is the person you should contact as they are most familiar with the property.
Here are a few other sites that we explored:
Homes.com – found this site to be very busy, hard to see the listings through all of the other activity going on.
Homefinder.com – cleaner site, easier to search
Move.com – more advertising activity than listing activity
RedFin.com – no photos showed up, only a table of listings, make sure to click on photo tab to see homes, good search ability
FrontDoor.com – this was a site from HGTV that is now closed
Other options for search homes would include:
YouTube.com – most brokers will have their own channel with their listings
Facebook.com – often brokers and agents will share their listings on this site
StarTribune.com – this is an adequate local search option
FazHomes.com is our preferred choice for searching locally! It is user friendly and super searchable. If you want to search by schools, parks, walkability, coffee shops, etc….you can. No other site in Minnesota offers this variety of search options. All information is pulled directly from MLS, so you know it’s accurate.
app.fazhomes.com is our mobile search app. It is easy to download for Android and iPhone from the app stores. It offers the same great technologies as some of the larger brokers in the metro area. We are proud that our family owned independent brokerage can offer this benefit to our clients. We encourage you to give it a try.
There are many ways to begin your home search on line, but we know that the best way to really search is to get expert direction from a Roger Fazendin Realtors agent. They will help you narrow the search and guide you in the process of completing a home purchase.