By Jerry Siebenmark
The Wichita Eagle.
In the battle for online real estate listings, two services have emerged in recent years as the dominant residential websites, surpassing even the National Association of Realtors’ affiliated website and mobile service.
According to a report released earlier this month, Zillow and Trulia combined accounted for twice as many unique visitors to their websites in May as the three other leading residential real estate listing websites combined.
The Beyond Syndication 2014 report by Arizona-based Clareity Consulting, a real estate industry information technology consulting firm, said that Zillow and Trulia’s real estate networks’ Web traffic totaled 84.6 million unique visitors in May.
That compares with the 40.2 million combined unique visitors in May of three other online real estate networks, the Clareity report said, including Move Inc., which operates NAR’s Realtor.com website.
Even with that dominance, not all local real estate brokers are convinced of Zillow’s, Trulia’s and other benefits for their brokerages and agents.
Some brokers reported instances where listings on those sites were incomplete, inaccurate or out of date.
“I think what’s happening is the free market is at work,” said John McKenzie, CEO of Coldwell Banker Plaza Real Estate, one of the area’s three biggest residential real estate brokerages. “The question comes down to the reliability of the data.”
Other real estate experts said what’s happening is that potential and active homebuyers and sellers have voted their preferences for online house shopping, and the two dominant players are likely to grow even more market share and eyeballs, and additional services, in the longer term.
“They are just simply Amazon replacing Borders and Barnes & Noble,” said Steve Murray, founder and editor of Real Trends, a Colorado-based national real estate communications and consulting firm.
McKenzie thinks some of the information about homes on sites such as Zillow is not always accurate. He said he thinks sites such as the one run by his firm and Realtor.com are more accurate and timely because those sites are linked to Multiple Listing Services databases, which he said have “pretty strong and stringent” requirements about the data realtors input into a home listing on the MLS database.