October 3, 2012—The WAV Group today published the results of an independent study of 11 major markets that found local real estate brokerage websites give consumers the most complete, accurate and timely information about homes for sale. The study evaluated sites from three local brokerages with real estate agents who help consumers buy and sell homes, comparing listing search results to those found on two national portals, Trulia and Zillow, which operate almost exclusively online.

In the markets analyzed, the study concluded:

  • Local real estate brokerage sites display 100% of the agent-listed homes for sale compared to about 80% for the national portal sites.
  • Local real estate brokerage sites show newly listed homes for sale seven to nine days earlier than national portals.
  • Local real estate brokerage sites almost never show a home listing as active that has already sold; about 36% of listings that appear as active on national portals are no longer for sale.

The WAV Group, a national consultancy specializing in real estate technology, conducted the study. Independent analysts verified the study data, record by record.

Redfin, a technology-powered broker with more than $5 billion in home sales sponsored the study.  Listing data from the websites of Long & Foster, one of the largest independent real estate brokerages in the U.S. and Windermere, the largest regional real estate brokerage in the Western U.S., was also included in the study.

“We analyzed a sample of more than 6,000 listings in 33 zip codes in 11 markets, comparing the data on various websites against 14 local Multiple Listing Services,” said WAV Group CEO Victor Lund. “The findings are clear: real estate brokerage websites showed by far the most homes for sale, recognized which homes were no longer for sale, and displayed new listings much earlier.”

The source of brokers’ advantage is direct access to local real estate databases. In each U.S. city or area, all real estate brokers subscribe to a local association known as a Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to share the listing data collected by their agents with consumers. Each MLS tracks locale-specific attributes about listings, noting for example which Seattle homes have waterfront access or which Virginia homes are historic. Only real estate brokers can be members of a local MLS. In contrast, national portals mostly rely on individual agents or real estate brokerages to re-post MLS listings on the portal websites, or the portals aggregate data from syndicators of real estate information.

Real Estate Brokerage Websites Display 100% of Agent-Listed Homes for Sale

The study measured how many of the listings in the local Multiple Listing Service appeared on local real estate brokerage websites and on portal sites, using as examples two highly trafficked national portals:

Percentage of Active MLS-Listed Homes Appearing on Site
Real Estate Brokerage Site: LongandFoster.com 100%
Real Estate Brokerage Site: Windermere.com 100%
Real Estate Brokerage Site: Redfin.com 100%
National Portal: Trulia.com 81%
National Portal: Zillow.com 79%

The study found that real estate brokerage websites show more listings for any given locale because they have direct access to MLS data about virtually every listing, and publish updates in near real-time. The WAV study evaluated each website locale by locale, evaluating each broker website in the areas where the broker had a significant number of local real estate agents.

Real Estate Brokerage Websites Show New Listings Earlier than National Portals

The study looked at the number of days between when an agent initially lists the home in the MLS and when it appears on consumer-accessible websites. Real estate brokerage sites update directly from the MLS, typically every 15-30 minutes.  While some listings are updated sooner, the median delay between when a home was listed on the MLS and when it appeared on the portal sites was nine days for Trulia and seven days for Zillow.

Median Days Between List Date and Appearing for Sale on Site
Real Estate Brokerage Site: LongandFoster.com 0
Real Estate Brokerage Site: Windermere.com 0
Real Estate Brokerage Site: Redfin.com 0
National Portal: Trulia.com 9
National Portal: Zillow.com 7

 Real Estate Brokerage Websites Far Less Likely to Show Homes for Sale That Had Already Sold

The study measured the likelihood that a home listing appearing as active was in fact for sale. Again, the real estate brokerage websites were the most up-to-date:

Percentage of Agent-Listed Properties Marked as Active on Each Site That Are No Longer for Sale in the Local MLS
Real Estate Brokerage Site: LongandFoster.com 0%
Real Estate Brokerage Site: Windermere.com 1.7%
Real Estate Brokerage Site: Redfin.com 0.1%
National Portal: Trulia.com 37%
National Portal: Zillow.com 36%

Markets included in the study:

  • Boston
  • Chicago
  • Denver
  • Los Angeles
  • Philadelphia
  • Phoenix
  • Portland, OR
  • San Diego
  • San Francisco
  • Seattle
  • Washington, D.C.

For details about the study, including market-by-market segmentation of real estate website accuracy, download the report in pdf format.

About Redfin

Redfin http://www.redfin.com/ is the real estate industry’s first technology-powered brokerage, combining a customer-focused team of real estate agents with online tools for making the process of buying or selling a home easy. Redfin is the only major search site to feature listings direct from broker databases as well as for-sale-by-owner and foreclosure properties from across the Internet. The company pays its agents customer-satisfaction bonuses, not commissions. Redfin is backed by Madrona Venture Group and Greylock Partners, early investors behind Amazon and Facebook. To keep track of our daring exploits, subscribe to blog.redfin.com or our Twitter feed @redfin.

About Windermere Real Estate

Windermere Real Estate is ranked the largest regional real estate company in the Western U.S. with over 300 offices and 7,000 agents serving communities in Alaska, Arizona, California, Hawaii, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Mexico. The Windermere family has a proud heritage of serving our neighbors via the Windermere Foundation which funds services for low-income and homeless families. Since 1989, the Windermere Foundation has contributed more than 23 million dollars towards improving lives in the communities where we live and work. For more information, visit http://www.windermere.com/.

About the WAV Group

The WAV Group is among the largest real estate consulting firms in the nation. The company provides technical and strategic planning to Multiple Listing Services, brokers, and technology companies. WAV Group is also one of the real estate industry’s leading research and analyst firms.