Cautionary tale for buyers on searching for property on the big national websites

Your Guide has been frustrated over the last couple weeks due to inaccuracies contained in the Trulia website.  Trulia (www.trulia.com) is a big national website that aggregates listing data from various sources in an attempt to beat websites like Realtor.com (www.realtor.com) at their own game.

Buyers of mine enjoy using the Trulia website as it presents a nice friendly interface, and appears to have mountains of data for home buyers.  But my buyers keep asking me, week after week, about a townhouse that keeps popping up in their search results – a townhouse in Lincoln Park that really interests them at a great price.

The listing, however, was listed and sold back in 2005. (Yes, back FIVE years ago.)  I compared the listing number, the listing agent, the listing description, and the listing photographs to my data from my local MLS to the Trulia description, and they are a perfect match.  My conclusion is that the data in the Trulia database is faulty.

(http://www.trulia.com/property/1040945531-1901-N-Maud-Ave-Chicago-IL-60614)

And in case the link above ceases working, my screen-cap:

Trulia Maud

I try to advice my buyers to log onto my Company’s website (also my co-branded website at www.robertdarrow.com) or by using the search function on MY OWN website at www.darrowwest.com.  By using the search functions at a local company you gain an advantage on two fronts:

  1. There’s someone local you can refer back to.  Can you find a phone number at Trulia where you can call and make a report of inaccurate information?  If there is inaccurate information on MY website, my telephone number is displayed right beneath my grinning photograph.
  2. My data is provided by my Local MLS.  Our local MLS feeds to my Company Website and to my personal website are both updated every couple hours from data directly from our local MLS.  It provides information that is the most up-to-date available.  From properties that are newly listed, or just gone under contract, finding a local source for your info is the most dependable way to make sure you aren’t viewing information on homes that really are not for sale.

I’ve never been a fan of the big national websites, other than Realtor.com.  But having to disappoint clients by explaining that some data is so old makes the job a whole bunch harder than it needs to be. 

For the most up-to-date listing information, link to our @properties co-branded website at www.robertdarrow.com or try my own IDX search on my personal website at www.darrowwest.com.  You’ll be glad you did!