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If you have been searching for a home for any amount of time, you’ve used Zillow.  It’s huge, a giant, a monster.  But as soon as you click that you want more information about a house then you inevitably find that the house is no longer listed, its sold, its in escrow or its just not what you expected.  So why use Zillow?  or Trulia or any of the big sites?  As a real estate professional who’s had to deliver the bad news to house hunters, that “the one”  isn’t really on the market, I feel your frustration.

So what is Zillow really good for?  It’s not up to date.   Not by a long shot.  But the value of these big searches is that you immediately get a better sense of the market value of a home.  This is even more clutch in areas that you’re not familiar with.  Looking to buy in Tahoe?  Each shore has a different market.  North, south, east and west all have different personalities and median home value.

When I want to know about a market that I’m not familiar with, I start with Trulia.  Where else can you get a barometer with a map included?  I could call a real estate professional from the phone book and get a concise overview, but why when I can do the research for myself?

So I would encourage you to keep up the internet search.  Use the tools that these mega sites give you.  Get alerts, have searches running.  But when it comes time for the human factor, make sure that you choose someone to work with that understands your goals, and communicates with you in a way that is effective.  Not all Realtors are created equal, just as the internet sites are not.  So find what works for you.  Because everyone should love where they live.