Almost every day each of us sorts through our own pile of junk mail and fake news, trying to decide what is real and what is relevant.  Sometimes it is hard to tell!  One trend in the fake news arena is that some well recognized sources for real estate have begun to advertise sold and contingent (not available) listings as if they are active and available.  I can only guess that they are using this fraudulent advertising strategy to skim available buyer leads that they then sell to brokers.   Zillow and Trulia are the worst offenders!  Sorry to break the news to you folks, but these are NOT reliable sources for your real estate searches.  I assume they have stooped to this new deviant practice because the inventories are historically  low and they are desperate for buyer leads to supply to their brokers who have signed up to receive those leads. 

     In the past, these sources illegally scraped information from Realtor® MLS data bases and then provided that information to the public as if they owned it.  Because of the nefarious method for obtaining the information it was notoriously inaccurate and stale.  Local Realtors®, frustrated with the inaccuracy of their public information decided to take matters into their own hands and actually specifically negotiated with Zillow to provide instant accurate information as a direct feed in order to cure that problem.  But now based on this current trend for misleading information from these popular sources, local Realtors® are having second thoughts.

     In one case a broker lost a buyer client, when the buyer saw a listing on Zillow that was being advertised as a new active listing.  When the buyer called their broker and insisted on seeing this property immediately, the broker checked the status in the MLS data base and confirmed that it had been sold/closed for some time.  The buyer, desperate for inventory to look at, argued with their broker until they got upset and fired them.  They then hooked up with a “preferred agent” that Zillow had recommended who had paid to play. 

     While some may question the loyalty of this buyer, the bigger question is how do Zillow and others get away with this deceptive practice?   Find and connect with a Realtor® who can set you up to receive all of the new, relevant listings.  Ask them about our new app that will give you accurate information in real time!