At the moment, I have two clients searching for homes on Zillow rather than my own site. I make this admission only so you can see the same thing I have told them, in graphic form.
Search for single family detached homes in Maricopa County in Zillow and here’s what you get:
For those with tiny screens, the magic number is 7,423 property for sale. (Foreclosures, as they appear on Zillow, are not necessarily real homes actually for sale but simply homes where a Notice of Trustee’s Sale has been filed with the county recorder.)
Now, here’s how the same Phoenix real estate search appears here using the Internet Data eXchange feed from the Arizona Regional MLS:
Again, for those with shrunken screens, the magic number is 12,009.
By searching on Zillow, home buyers are seeing around 60 percent of what’s really for sale.
Or are they?
Check out this listing in Zillow …
Nice home for sale, right? Problem is, it’s not for sale … it’s under contract:
AWC – Active with Contingencies – means an offer’s already been accepted on the property and only backups can be submitted. A buyer searching on Zillow wouldn’t see this distinction.
And since Zillow doesn’t make that distinction, the question then becomes how many of those 7,400 homes “for sale” really are available for sale?
There are 5,232 homes in Maricopa County in AWC status. Just a hunch, but there has to be a fairly significant overlap between this pool and the allegedly active on Zillow.
As for my site? Click on status, check off “backup or contingency status” and you’ll not be bothered with these 5,200 homes not actually for sale.
It really seems like a no-brainer. I’ll get these folks to listen sometime soon. In the meantime, don’t let yourself and your friends make the same mistake.
Zillow is not a home-search site. It’s a fun valuation toy, but it’s little better than a dartboard and map when it comes to finding out what’s really for sale.