Finding homes for sale on the Internet is EASY! There's only one problem: most of the large real estate websites may boast the MOST listings, but unfortunately, MOST of these listings are already sold, under contract, or only accepting backup offers. You can waste a lot of time surfing the web for properties and this is a great way to get a "feel" for the market, but when it comes time to FIND YOUR HOME, you can forget all the hype about finding it on Zillow, Realtor.com or even my company's website, REMAX.com.
I have to admit to an unfair advantage as it pertains to the Internet and the real estate industry. When I started selling real estate in 1986, the most sophisticated technology we had was the fax machine. I'm not talking about a fax machine that prints out documents on 8-1/2" by 11" sheets of paper. I'm talking about the fax machine that had a roll of paper with a heat transfer printing head and we used to have to use a paper cutter to separate the pages. The Multiple Listing was a printed book the size of a Los Angeles phone book (if you still remember what those looked like) and it came out every two weeks. We LOVED those old books, especially in the winter (I started selling real estate in Minneapolis) when we would leave them in the trunks of our cars for weight when the streets were slippery and deep with snow.
If you've read my bio, you may know that I spent 17 years on the international speaking circuit as a real estate technology speaker, trainer and self-proclaimed "guru" to the residential real estate industry. I literally introduced email, the Internet, websites, digital cameras, laptop computers, database software and productivity tools to tens of thousands of real estate agents. The average age of a real estate agent was, and still is, in their mid 50's. Let's just say, it was hard to teach those "old dogs" new tricks. Now that I'm in my mid-50's I understand why...
Here's what other agents either don't know or won't tell you: The most accurate real estate listings come from the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) NOT from the enormous national real estate sites. Here's why: All real estate listings are uploaded by local agents into their local MLS and then on a daily, weekly or sometimes monthly basis, those listings are "scraped" by the larger sites to be included in their "active listings" inventory. I know they'll try to tell you that they update hourly or even faster, BUT THAT IS A LIE. The really sad part is that these huge data aggregation sites DON'T CARE ABOUT ACCURACY. That's not how they make money. They make money by getting you to register (for free) on their websites and then THEY SELL YOU AS A BUYER LEAD BACK TO AGENTS WHO ARE WILLING TO PAY THEM FOR YOUR INFORMATION.
Okay, now that you know our dirty little secret, here's what's most important for you to know: The most accurate, up to the minute property information will come to you directly from your local MLS and only a member of that organization can set you up for a direct feed to receive listings that match your price range and criteria as soon as they become available. If you will trust me on this it will save you hours and hours of late night surfing to find properties that are already under contract. I've had a few buyers who still wanted to look and every time they found addresses of properties on "those other websites" instead of my direct MLS feed, they were already under contract.
In summary: Only a member of your local real estate MLS can set you up with a direct feed of properties that match your criteria and price range and that is accurate as soon as those homes become available. I'm happy to set one up for you, and remember, there's no cost or obligation and instead you can spend your time on the internet picking out furniture for your new home!