LA Times Examines Local Home Search Options

Over two days in June, we searched each site for three-bedroom, single-family homes on the market in Santa Monica.

The results:

These numbers are always in flux, but from what I’m seeing I think there are between  90 and 100 MLS listings on the market and around 45 to 50 foreclosure listings.

Finally, it’s kind of a waste to do this kind of research unless you’re willing to do a quality analysis. My experience has been that the sites that do not have direct access to MLS info tend to have more listings that are out-of-date and/or listed with outdated prices.

zillow homes in santa monica

* It’s worth noting that I’m pretty sure the reporters messed up with their Zillow numbers… When I just did a search that limits the results to 3+ bedrooms in Santa Monica, then there’s a little graphic that says there are 166 listings for sale, but those are for ALL homes for sale and only 64 of the homes match my criteria.   The Zillow results should probably have been closer to 64 listings which would put them slightly below Trulia.

4 responses

  1. The non-MLS sites do indeed have more out-of-date listings. Many of these originate with manually entered listings on various sites, and when sold, these often don’t get updated. I had a client who wanted to see a home that seemed too low-priced to be for real, and when I finally located what he was looking at online, it turned out that it had been listed and sold years ago.

  2. Shell Smith Avatar
    Shell Smith

    That is a very interesting experiment! Thanks for that idea – and for sharing the results. I agree that non-mls sites require some serious work on the part of the searcher. If they are willing to do that they might find what they are looking for – but why go through the hassle? I usually recommend the site PropertyMaps which has a google maps/mls tool. This one is pretty user friendly too. Thanks again for the input.

  3. Hello Dustin,

    I also agree. Data intergrity is very difficult… even for the MLS themselves. The issue is trying to update millions of records from all of the individual sources on a daily basis is even more difficult for the listing aggregators, hence the reason why were are addressing the issue from a different angle than all other real estate search sites by directing consumers directly to the listing sources.

    The second issue not addressed in the LA times article is that even with the MLS listings it still represents only about 65%-70% of the homes for sale in an area. So based on the search there maybe as much as another 30 – 40 homes for sale that buyers would never find using the aforementioned sources.

    Lastly the issue regarding data… as there is more syndication this issue of data integrity will only be compounded.

  4. I wrote about this on my blog a while back with a slightly different take.

    I think we should admit that no site will ever have ALL the listings. Websites are fine for browsing, but for a serious buyer who wants all the options they should work with a local real estate professional who knows the market.

    There are lots of reasons why a home is for sale, but not online. Some of them are good, some are horrible.

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