Understanding Realtor.com

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Realtor.com is the #1 real estate website in the world for traffic.  It’s certainly not the best site, just the most inclusive. With consumers being empowered by the internet, having less free time than ever to shop for homes, and hating the idea of being hassled by an agent, content-rich sites are  high on the consumer’s list.  Consumers have many misconceptions about the site, however, and I felt it was a good idea to help clear some of that up.

1. Realtor.com is not the MLS. It is the culmination of about 900 “local” MLS’s feeding all their listings to this giant website.

2. After the property is listed on the MLS, it takes about 48 hours to be uploaded to Realtor.com.  It is never instant. 

3. Most Realtors have an agreement with their MLS to allow all properties from Realtor.com to be posted on their own website. This is known to brokers as IDX, for Internet Data Exchange.  That’s why at the bottom off each listing in small print, it says, “Courtesy of XYZ Real Estate Company”.

4. The majority of agents never even look at your property on Realtor.com, they use the MLS. Even your listing agent.

5. Do you know why some listings have 1 picture on Realtor.com, while others have 6 pictures and a virtual tour, scrolling text, a headline, and open house notification?  Realtor.com charges agents for that. It is not free. It is an advertising cost. This is what is replacing newspaper ads.  This is called a “Showcase Feature“.

6. Do you know why some homes come up first, to the left side of the screen?  These are “Featured Homes”. Again, a very expensive monthly fee to be posted here.  90+% of all agents do not invest in this. 

7. Many agents feel that their own trade organization should not charge them for these features, so, instead of promoting their listings better, they cut their nose off to spite their face. And their client’s face.

8. Showcase homes features provide us with a report (see above) which shows us how many folks clicked on your house in the past  week. In this illustration, the property shown has a spike when I advertised it as a “Feature Home”.  Note the jump in traffic. For the 2 weeks it was a Feature Home, it averaged 2,900 “hits”, compared to about 800 “hits” when not a Feature Home.  This is approxiamtely a 360% increase.  This is one of ther best kept secrets in our business.  If your house is on the MLS, this is something you really want your agent to do for you. This report is not an anomaly, but typical for homes which are “Featured Homes” on Realtor.com.

9. Realtor.com does not automatically provide the address of the property. I guess they feel the consumer really doesn’t need that. (Address notification is the first thing buyers want.)

10. Why do agents who use “Showcase” features not use headlines, scrolling text or open house notifications?  Either they don’t know their way around a computer very well or they are  lazy. It’s that simple.

If you don’t like Realtor.com, make sure to check out Trulia.com.  We have been placing our new listings there for over a year, with great success. Some people believe that in time Trulia will become more important than Realtor.com.

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