Agent Assisted MLS Reports, Realtor.com, and Zillow.com
A Brief Discussion About Data, Pros and Cons of Each, & What Each is Good For
December 2022 - By Amber Nestor - Professional TN Real Estate Broker
Working directly with an agent who is a highly education professional, with proven experience in their field, who is sending you reports directly from an MLS, and who can speak knowledgeably about different types of data, and how helpful and accurate those resources are, is imperative. As a buyer, your best result will be obtained if you sign a buyer's agency contract with a serious agent, and combine these 3 resources to help you search for property, especially if your are searching in more than 1 county or more than 1 town.
What is an MLS?
An MLS is a multiple listing service. Each MLS region is a little different. Agents often pay to be members of 1, or sometimes more, MLS associations, or regions. Each association is a little different in a variety of ways.
It is important to select an agent that is well versed in the region you are interested in.
For example, I specialize in the Eastern Half of TN, a very broad region, and have listed and sold property all across that entire region.
It is important to select an agent that has a deep understand of data analysis and knows how to utilize all types of research systems to compare property, research property ownership history, sales prices in the last 60 months, topo maps, water maps, utilities, internet verifications, and so much more.
For example, I specialize in both land and home research methods.
Pros about a report from MLS - 1st hand information, input was done directly by the listing agent or a designated employee who does data entry for the firm, not perfect, but will be the closest thing to perfect data, all info should be verified for accuracy, real estate agents and brokers pay large fees to maintain membership to this system, and this is the system that is utilized to dive into deeper research, set up showings, and analyze all kinds of data that will help you to succeed!
Cons about a report from MLS - people are well, people, and as people, sometimes make errors, however, this is 1st hand data, and most likely to be accurate, up to date, and show the information exactly as the listing agent has input it, or updated it, moment by moment, current
What is Zillow?
Pros about Zillow Reports - Quick and combines data from a lot of different sources.
Cons about Zillow Reports - is a company that pulls data from other databases, and allows for sale by owners to also input their own data. Because Zillow is a source of 2nd hand data, it is much more prone to errors of many kinds, updates less quickly, and you may be dealing with a mixture of agents (with a variable level of experience and expertise and with owners directly, who may have little to no understanding of how to generate a fair a competitive, or honest, marketing strategy). Errors I have personally witnessed on Zillow's data include, but are not limited to: incorrect acreage, incorrect address, incorrect map location, incorrect property details, incorrect status, and more. This website will connect you with agents who have paid to receive leads, but these agents are NOT held to any standard as far as experience level, expertise, nor education. For example, you might be referred to an agent who has: never sold property, never listed property, just got their license yesterday, etc. There is no level of expertise required of agents you are referred to other than, are they licensed, and are they willing to pay to receive leads.
What is Realtor.com?
Pros about Realtor.com Reports - quick to run yourself, combines data from a lot of sources
Cons about Realtor.com Reports - Realtor.com shares a lot of the same struggles that Zillow.com has, just does not have errors quite as often. Still, this is 2nd hand data. And agents that YOU might be referred to from this website might have just gotten their license yesterday. There is no level of expertise required of agents you are referred to other than, are they licensed, and are they willing to pay to receive leads.
I hope that helps you understand a bit more about the 3 sources of reports.
Amber Nestor - Professional Real Estate Broker for Tennessee