While these huge national, multi-billion dollar company websites offer some useful information about buying a home, listing your home, mortgages and home design, searching those sites comes at a price. What so many people don’t realize is the amount of underlying infrastructure of sales and marketing tactics that are designed to extract your every movement online and insight a deluge of assaults from all the real estate professionals that have paid big money to get your private information and search behavior.

There is a reason these sites have market caps in the multi-billions. It’s because they have found a way to monetize their traffic to generate billions in annual sales and for me, some of this comes at expense that may be more than you would like to pay. Trust me, you are paying to visit these sites with one of the most important commodities you have, your time, your energy. Your name and contact information is basically going to the highest bidder, agents, brokers, mortgage folks etc, who pay big money to be in the top positions on the page so you click on those ads and presto, your phone and email are going to start ringing.

And in a lot of cases, it’s not the most qualified people contacting you, they are the people who stepped up and paid the large fees that these sites charge to position certain agents as the agent of choice.

Let me share with you a few key reasons why I think you should consider not using these sites and I will provide you an alternative I believe gives you all the benefits and more. Plus, you will know exactly how the game works and then you can make a decision based upon knowledge. After all, knowledge is power, right?


  1. The properties you search may no longer even be available. It is true that these behemoth websites pull listings directly from the MLS, and it’s also a well known truth that they continue displaying listings which have accepted offers. Why would they do this practice? The reason is simple: they are in the business of selling “leads” to real estate professionals who make their money selling their services to those leads. So, the more listings on the sites, the more leads they have to deliver their monthly obligations to the agents who pay to be in front of you. They are selling “eyeballs” and without listings, less leads to sell.
  2. Property valuations. Zillow in particular has a fast way to get a quick evaluation of your home. Problem is that the Zestimate is in most cases inaccurate and can cause people to either get excited or depressed depending on the outcome of those instant evaluations. Meaning: it either over values or under values and in a lot of cases, by a big amount.  It’s an incredible idea, concept, but it’s in most cases so off base that you are far better off taking the time and get a professional valuation. There is no automated way to get an accurate value for your home. You need a professional, qualified agent/broker to do the real work of getting a home valuation the correct way.
  3. These sites make their money from fees paid by various real estate related professionals. While it’s true that these sites are free for consumers, these sites bring in huge amounts of money that create multi-billion dollar market caps by relying on you to innocently visit their sites, give up all kinds of your privacy and then potentially be deluged by people calling you wanting your business, because now they are armed with your personal information.
  4. The process works like this: You visit one of these big sites and you click on the “Contact Agent,” “Request More Information,” “Request More Details” button and then this unleashes a sequence of events that may not fully be what you intended or even desire. This is, however, the PRICE you pay (not immediate fees for using the search details, but indeed you are paying a price) for visiting the site. As of this writing, 60,000 plus agents are paying for leads, to have the right to contact you to help you list your home or help you find a home for purchase. Even if you want to find an agent, this at a minimum is not the most effective way to find the best option for an agent. Do you really want to choose your agent based upon a “rotation” and the agent paying more money to be in a better position so you click on their button? To me, this is neither the optimal way to search for your dream home or the best way to find the right agent for your needs.
  5. Now the truth is, I am on this side of the formula. I am a real estate broker and not a buyer or seller, but I do indeed remember being one many times, just like you. Needing to sell a million dollar home or buy a new home or both. When I take into consideration my knowledge and experience of being on both sides of the spectrum, it’s very simple for me to see that searching these huge sites for the information we want, is not the best solution. What if there was a way to have the best of all worlds without having to be subjected to dozens of strangers all vying for my attention. And for me, I like to keep things “local.” I like keeping my business experiences as much as possible to the local business community, especially if I am not having to give up the quality of the customer experience. Why not support a local business who will provide personal attention and detail instead of becoming part of the multi-national, multi-billion dollar company who can’t and doesn’t care about you as an individual. They can’t because of the very nature and structure of the organization.
  6. So what are your best alternatives if you want to search the MLS for your dream home? Or to get an idea of what homes are selling for in your neighborhood, or whatever your particular motivation may be, what’s the best way to proceed? The truth is, if a real estate agent or broker (which BTW, I highly recommend a broker over an agent because that is a higher level of education and certification) is on top of their game, and up with technology, like I am, we have access to very sophisticated MLS technology. As an example, if you were to visit my site https://sophiapolk.com you would see essentially the same capabilities that are offered on these huge company websites, but without all the assaults from myriad real estate professionals all paying huge fees to position themselves to grab your personal information. So, the alternative is that In my opinion, it’s much better for you to find a local professional who is keen on technology and can offer you all the same tech search features, but with the addition of the personal, professional touch, that for me, is the rub, the real rub. Why settle for some automated, huge company website who’s taking in billions to grab your contact info and peddle it to the highest bidder?
  7. If after reading this article, it still makes since to use these sites, at least I have pulled back the curtain and exposed the infrastructure and the tricks of the trade so-to-speak. Or better yet, go to my website and see for yourself that you are not giving up anything accept lots of real estate folks vying for your attention.  You can design custom searches that will send you updates based upon your search criteria just like the big guys. You can get all that information without providing a single detail about yourself. You have total control over the experience and at any time you want to get personal attention, just raise your hand and get the highest level of professional real estate services that exist in Texas.

So thank you for taking the time to read this article and I hope you found some cool, informative content that may help you along your path in real estate. I would be honored to help you in any way or you can call me to ask a quick question or have a long detailed conversation about your real estate needs. No pressure, no sales pitch, just good old talking and getting to know each other. You can call me directly on my cell phone at 214-435-9551. Or go directly to my website at https://sophiapolk.com Thank you again and I hope to get to meet with you soon and get to know you. Have a great day!