I would guess that almost everyone reading this article has used (or binged on) one real estate site or another such as Zillow or Redfin. In this article, we will look at a variety of real estate sites and the benefits provided to consumers.

One thing I want to be clear about from the start is, these sites are great for learning about areas and marketing properties on the retail market, however, they are not where savvy investors find deals.  To find a deal you need a platform like OTA Real Estate’s Deal Board (patent pending). We developed it to provide our students with data at an investor’s level.  The Deal Board allows investors to find potential deals before they are on the market and also incorporates tools to analyze a property’s profitability potential.

Here are details about real estate sites you might be aware of and a few boutique sites you might have never heard of.

Real Estate

Real Estate Listing Sites:

Redfin
Redfin hires real estate agents directly and pays them a salary. Buyers are given a refund of portion of the buyer’s agent’s commission, Redfin charges sellers between 1-2 percent for a real estate listing (depending on the level of services such as deep cleaning, staging and landscaping) to list their properties. They also have an inhouse mortgage arm.  Redfin did go public in June of last year at which time it was valued at 1.2 billion dollars.

Purplebricks
Purplebricks was originally launched in the UK and Australia as a discount brokerage and just expanded to the US last year (currently only serving Los Angeles, San Diego, Fresno and Sacramento with more markets to follow). It’s a real estate listing site that uses the flat fee model.  The fee is $3,200 and the Seller is responsible for paying the buyer’s agent’s commission.  The company also gives the buyer $1,000 back toward closing cost.  Buyers are assigned a local real estate expert to manage the sale.

Knock
Knock is an online home trading platform. It was designed with move up buyers as its primary market.  Knock pays all cash for the move-up property. They also repair the home and then sell it to the trade-in client in exchange for the client’s current home.  Knock charges 6 percent for its services plus the cost of any repairs.  They are currently in Atlanta with plans to expand to 10 new cities by the end of 2019 (a few of the cities on the list are LA and San Diego).

Realtor.com
Realtor.com is the official consumer website associated with the National Association of Realtors.  They state that they ‘have more accurate, comprehensive and fresh data than …competition sites’, because Realtor.com does get direct feeds from the MLS where the other sites either have to have the listing or get third party listing data. However, they don’t have all the catchy consumer tools or highlight the listing agent as much as other sites do.  There is also still a small delay getting the real estate listing data.

Technology has changed the way we do real estate, which is fantastic because it is much more efficient. However, knowing the data source is vital to finding and closing good real estate deals.

Here are a few tips for using the above real estate listing sites as well as others:

  • check the data source

  • check recency of the data

  • check the terms of sale and purchase

None of these sites are one size fits all, but they can be useful tools.

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