While I am not a fan of Trulia, Zillow or Realtor.com I do believe that each of these websites have something to offer the world, as long as the customer/visitor understands what they are looking at. Here's a quick summary of each site, but please before you price your home or put bids in on another home based on numbers you have found online, please talk to me or another local realtor with real local expertise. You can contact me by filling out the form on the right.
Realtor.com is the granddaddy of them all. I wish I had come up with this idea and domain, but that was awhile ago. Realtor.com was there first. They essentially created the online real estate search. In many MLS locations Realtor.com actually takes priority over the MLS as for ability to use the listing. This is because of their timing. This site is fantastic if you want basic information on listings just about anywhere in the country. If you are looking for more detail please give me a ring.
Zillow tried something new and once again I wish I had come up with the idea. Zillow wanted to build a system that would allow people to go online and find information on sales, town housing data and (most importantly to them) home valuation. This is where they get into a little trouble. Their valuations (z-estimates) are based on a lot of data that they pull online. It is essentially a robot's idea of what your house is worth based on what the robot can find online. This robot never goes into your house and has no clue what the property is like. I can't tell you how many times I get customers asking about Zillow estimates. They can be way off.
For example, they use listing data to come up with their estimates. This is crazy. I've seen Zillow valuations go from $800k to $1.3m in days when houses are listed and then when they sell for $700k (because the seller way overpriced) the Zillow estimate just follows down. In addition their data is quite often incorrect (see next paragraph on Trulia).
Trulia, to keep it simple, is essentially a composite of Zillow and Realtor.com. It won't be long until all three are the same website. Trulia brings very little to the world that is new other than a Realor.com atmosphere with more data and some blogging. One big problem is that this extra data (sales numbers, tax info, town assessments, etc...) is often wrong. This data, which Zillow.com also likes to pull, is compiled by a robot pulling from town websites and databases. Most of the time the information is correct, but it is not uncommon for it to be wrong. The main reason is that these robots don't double-check their work and a listing on Field Point Road, might actually be on Field Point Circle. Big difference.
I have received many emails and calls asking about sales data that was seen on Zillow or Trulia only to realize that it is wrong. Some of these calls would have resulted in mispricings had I not found out the truth. All of these websites are useful, but please please take a second to understand just how they are created and why some robot from Seattle might not have the valuation spot on.
For more information on Fieldstone Group or Scott Elwell, please visit their Douglas Elliman page here.
Zillow search for Greenwich CT Real Estate, Here.