Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com: Which One is Best?

by Natalie Terchek

Are there other online tactics that work?

As mentioned above, there are many other ways to promote your business and find leads online. Borden recommends using social media to reach others. Besides writing her blog, “The Borden Report,” she is active on Facebook and has her own YouTube channel, where she produces video blogs. She highly recommends other agents to do the same, as long as they don’t “push” their business.

“People don’t realize that blogging is so many things,” she said. “It doesn’t have to be real estate all the time; it could be very personal. That’s how you build relationships. I think it allows the Realtor to show their personality to the consumer, and that’s how you make the connection.”

Borden especially recommends video as a useful tool to agents, because it gets the message across shortly but sweetly. “Take advantage of anything that allows you to show that you’re the expert in your area,” she said.

McNitt says one of the most important things you can do is to share your website and create exposure, and you have to continually work hard in order to be successful.

“Don’t expect to get lots of leads from your website right away,” he said. “It’s got to get out there and get exposed.”

McNitt recommends choosing an easy name to remember. For example, his website is www.markknowshouston.com, because it’s easier to remember (and easier to spell) than “MarkMcNitt.com”.

He also recommends incorporating your website in emails, blogs and on business cards. On the back of his business cards, he has two QR codes that can be scanned by a smartphone to link to websites: one links to his company website, and the other to a YouTube video, where he holds up his card and introduces the front side as “My 20th century business card,” and the back as, “My 21st century business card.” He also has the QR code on the back of his car in chrome letters.

Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com: is there a winner?

Dollinger would prefer to use Zillow or Trulia over Realtor.com because of their enhanced listings, the website design and the way they attract consumers.

“It’s not that I have something against Realtor.com, they simply haven’t focused as much on growth and consumer engagement as the other two,” he said. “Even though Realtor.com has the most comprehensive and timely coverage of listings, the consumer is choosing to visit Trulia and Zillow because of their design, user generated content, mobile applications, etc.”

Both Borden and McNitt agree that Zillow is the least accurate out of the real estate websites. Bordon says that she would use HAR.com over Zillow, and even over Trulia.

“Zillow and Trulia need to back up their data with a professional opinion – someone who knows their area and knows how to come up with a market analysis,” she said. “But there’s nothing wrong with those sites. I think they’re very dynamic. These guys came outside our industry and have really been game-changers for the entire Realtor community. We have to know how to play with them. I just don’t think they should be the only resource for the consumer.”

McNitt does not wish to pay that much for online services, however this does not mean he doesn’t actively use them. He takes advantage of a lot of free ways to get his name and business online, and is able to find leads that way. By taking advantage of all the Question & Answer sessions on Trulia, he is creating exposure for himself and his business without spending a dime.

“Agents don’t have to spend lots of money to find leads on the Internet,” he said. “They just have to know where to look.”

Even though McNitt is not a big fan of paying for leads, he decided to pay for Realtor.com’s enhanced listings, and paid for two zip codes, because the leads go straight to him. When he gets leads, they are automatically loaded to his top producer database. The price of enhanced listings vary per zip code, but McNitt revealed that he pays around $400 for the year, averaging around 30 listings per year.

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  • Wayne Stroman says:

    I find the information in the article inaccurate where it says: “HAR.com has been said to be the most accurate, but since only Realtors have access to it, most homebuyers will not be looking on there.” The truth is HAR.com is a public site and more home buyers go there than the other sites mentioned. Houston is the only major metro with a highly successful public facing website and when it is the source for all the data displayed on the aggregator’s sites and updated more timely than they can, HAR.com is the place to go. Wayne Stroman, HAR Chairman of the Board, 2012 for the Houston Association of REALTORS.

  • Marie Dierks says:

    Yes I totally agree HAR.com is by far the best for the real information regarding properties.

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