The great thing about the internet is if you are house hunting you can find
dozens hundreds of sites with listings. The problem is figuring out which of those sites has accurate information and whether those homes are still for sale.
When inventory is tight, as it has been in Northern Virginia for the last year, buyers start looking anywhere and everywhere for listings. They turn to some of the major third-party syndication sites like Zillow and Trulia hoping to find more houses for sale. The problem is the accuracy of the data. I’ve spent hours researching properties for buyers who are certain were being hidden from them because they found them “active” on another site. Every one of “active” Northern Virginia listings had sold between 6 months to 2 years ago.
In addition to getting listings from the MLS the larger third-party sites also get listings from various flyer services individual agents can subscribe to. Unless an agent removes those fliers they stay active forever keeping the illusion a home is for sale. It’s a Catch-22. Northern Virginia Realtors® want to give our sellers maximum exposure on their listings but at the same time we have to make sure our buyers understand that exposure can lead to misinformation when it’s not kept up to date.
Our team set up a dedicated Northern Virginia home search site that is updated every 15 minutes directly from the MLS. As soon as a home is listed our buyers are notified. As soon as a home goes under contract our clients see the status change. And when a home sells, it disappears completely. We subscribe to a number of “pre-MLS” sites and scour them daily for anything that could meet their needs.
If you are searching for a Northern Virginia home to buy work with an Realtor® who can show you the direct link to the MLS without a third party go between. It will save you hours of frustration.
photo credit By Loveteamin via Wikimedia Commons