How to have less stress using Zillow

I have been in real estate for about 5 years now, and worked with 100 plus people. I have noticed a few patterns. Almost everyone uses the internet to search for their home. Most people use an agent to help them buy or sell their home. The majority of people who buy the home they live in find it online first, if they didn’t find it online first, say they found it driving around, they most likely will go back to the internet and find it online. And then finally, which is the topic of this conversation, most people are using Zillow® when searching for their home. HEY! I don’t blame you, it is a great site to get on and click around, and find your perfect home! But the frustration that I see when my buyers use it is this, it is loaded with inaccuracies, misinformation or misleading info. So, what I will cover is how to use Zillow correctly to help you navigate what all the various statuses are on homes when searching. Because it is quite confusing. Let us begin!

Home Status #1 – COMING SOON… (or possibly never)

This home is not actually listed, most likely it will, so just keep an eye out, best bet is to save it. But keep this in mind, what they are trying to do is create a bidding war scenario so when it hits the market people are already ready to go!

Home Status #2 – MAKE ME MOVE… (cause I’m overpriced)

This one could be for sale, but likely these people have no real intentions of selling. They want to see if there is a person out there who will overpay for their home so they can cash out big. Only problem is, most people don’t have the cash to spend the difference between the appraisal and what they will pay to actually buy the house. What do I mean by that? Well when the house you paid for appraises $20,000 less then the make me move price. Who is going to cover that? My advice… Stay away. These people are generally not realistic. But, but… I have seen some where it is like, “Okay, I would pay for that.” Have your agent tell you if it is a good deal so you don’t waste time and money!

(NOTE: While I don’t think Zestimates are what you should base your home price on, because they actually use a different way of pricing homes then Realtors do. They are not so off that they are like the above mentioned property.)

Home Status # 3 – Foreclosure… (didn’t pay the bills, but could be listed soon!)

Now this is where we get into the confusing statuses for people. I think the confusion stems from the real estate investor seminars that say buy the foreclosures. So to clear this up, this is not for sale. But it could be soon. Save it, and keep an eye out for it.

(NOTE: When a home forecloses, meaning it is sold at sheriff sale, which a person could buy if they have the cash, but usually the bank just ends up buying it. The homeowner actually have six months to redeem the property.)

Home Status # 4 – Foreclosed… (we didn’t pay the bills either)

Refer to up top. From what I’m seeing these just “Foreclosed” may take longer to see as a listing cause of the process they have to go through to get listed. But you can check when they foreclosed on Zillow if you scroll down on the page.

Home Status # 5 – Auction… (it is about over)

Unfortunately these people are very far behind, they most likely are not going to correct this. Now with the Auction, a person could come with cash and make a bid and get this home. Remember: you do not get to see it until after you buy it, and the homes owner has six months to redeem it. I don’t recommend this for the average home buyer.

Home Status # 6 – Pending… (already in a contract)

I don’t get too many people asking about these, but just to clarify these are in a contract to be sold. They are no longer able to be purchased.

(NOTE: Zillow pulls information from the local MLS, so it can be wrong/out of date. Check with your agent or your MLS, for people in Grand Rapids, is most reliable. That is the Realtor’s place for listings.)

Home Status # 7 – For Sale… (you can buy this, but hurry your butt up, they are not lasting long!)

Finally after all that, we get to actually see what we can buy. These and FSBO are for sale. Hurry and contact your agent, and check your local MLS, again this could be out of date. Time is of the essence when going to see homes. Honestly, Zillow is not the best place for home searching because it pulls it’s data from the Realtor’s site.

Home Status # 8 – For Sale By Owner… (call your agent for help!)

This is our last home status to go over, For Sale By Owners. These are in fact for sale, but their motivation can be all over the spectrum. What I find is they are more then happy to have a Buyer’s agent helping because to be honest, they don’t know what they are doing. Trust me, I have worked with them! Moreover, if they are trying to keep a professional out of the deal, you have no idea what can go wrong. So that little bit you pay an agent, it will get ate up some where and then some. My advice, call your agent, get help, you wouldn’t go to court with out a lawyer, would you? I wouldn’t recommend buying a home without an agent, cause you may end up needing that lawyer, and trust me, they are not cheap.

Wrapping this up

Now, just to cover a few things before you go searching on the web. One, having an agent help you search is a great idea when searching for a home! They have the MLS, and they can help you build a portal that sends homes to your likings and criteria, so you are receiving them as fast as they are hitting the market. Two, Zillow pulls data from Realtor’s websites, that means they may take a day to get the information. So it is possible the information you are seeing is out of date! Lastly, if you are searching Zillow, cross reference it with if you are in the Grand Rapids area or your local MLS.

So this concludes what statuses to look out for when searching Zillow. Moreover it should allow you to speed up your search, get you in a home faster, and make you happier in the long run. Thanks for reading!

Tyler Jackson • Jackson Properties

Keller Williams Of Grand Rapids East • Each office is independently owned and operated.

630 Kenmoor SE Ste. 101 • Grand Rapids, MI 49546

Cell: 616 540 4606

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