Equifax

Finance Blog

Stay financially savvy with the Equifax Advisor.

Sign up for our FREE Monthly Email Newsletter

 

Thank you for signing up for the FREE Equifax monthly newsletter

In addition to keeping in the financial know, you may be interested in checking your credit score and report.

Understand your credit. Help protect your identity.

Equifax Complete™ Premier Plan

  • Know What May Influence Your Credit Score and Be Alerted of Changes
    Credit score monitoring with custom alerts
    Important Disclosure: The Equifax credit score and 3-Bureau credit scores are based on an Equifax credit score model and are not the same scores used by 3rd parties to assess your creditworthiness.¹
  • Help Protect Your Identity
    Automatic fraud alerts encourages lenders to take extra steps to verify your identity²
  • Lock Your Credit
    The ability to lock and unlock your Equifax Credit Report³
Save 75% your first 30 days with the purchase of Equifax Complete™ Premier

$4.95 for the first 30 days, then $19.95 per month thereafter. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.4

¹The credit scores provided under the offers described here use the Equifax Credit Score, which is a proprietary credit model developed by Equifax. The Equifax Credit Score and 3-Bureau scores are each based on the Equifax Credit Score model, but calculated using the information in your Equifax, Experian and TransUnion credit files. The Equifax Credit Score is intended for your own educational use. It is also commercially available to third parties along with numerous other credit scores and models in the marketplace. Please keep in mind third parties are likely to use a different score when evaluating your creditworthiness. Also, third parties will take into consideration items other than your credit score or information found in your credit file, such as your income.

²The Automatic Fraud Alert feature is made available to consumers by Equifax Information Services LLC and fulfilled on its behalf by Equifax Consumer Services LLC.

³Equifax Credit Report Control™ is only available while you have a current subscription to Equifax Complete Premier. Locking your credit file with Equifax Credit Report Control will prevent access to your Equifax credit file by certain third parties, such as credit grantors or other companies and agencies. Credit Report Control will not prevent access to your credit file at any other credit reporting agency, and will not prevent access to your Equifax credit file by companies like Equifax Personal Solutions which provide you with access to your credit report or credit score or monitor your credit file; Federal, state and local government agencies; companies reviewing your application for employment; companies that have a current account or relationship with you, and collection agencies acting on behalf of those whom you owe; for fraud detection and prevention purposes; and companies that wish to make pre-approved offers of credit or insurance to you. To opt out of such pre-approved offers, visit www.optoutprescreen.com/.

4We will require you to provide your payment information when you sign up and we will immediately charge your card $4.95. After that, we will charge the card $19.95 for each month you continue your subscription. You may cancel at any time; however, we do not provide partial month refunds.

Equifax® is a registered trademark and Equifax Complete™ Premier is a trademark of Equifax, Inc. © 2014, Equifax Inc., Atlanta, Georgia. All rights reserved.

Secrets of Online House Hunting

Written by Steve Cook on February 18, 2013 in Real Estate  |   4 comments

Few aspects of modern life have been transformed as much by the Internet as house hunting. Last year, 90 percent of all homebuyers—and 93 percent of first-time homebuyers—used the Internet to find a home. However, as powerful and pervasive as it is, online real estate…

online house huntingFew aspects of modern life have been transformed as much by the Internet as house hunting. Last year, 90 percent of all homebuyers—and 93 percent of first-time homebuyers—used the Internet to find a home.

However, as powerful and pervasive as it is, online real estate has its failings—some obvious and some known to only a few. Buying a home is the most expensive decision most of us make, so to avoid a mistake that could become very costly, every buyer should know how online house hunting really works.

Put simply, there are three kinds of sites carrying large numbers of real estate listings: the fancy national sites like Realtor.com and Zillow, regional sites published by multiple listing services, and sites sponsored by agents and brokers with local listings. However, they all get their information from the same source: the multiple listing service (MLS).

Not all properties are listed

There are more than 800 multiple listing services that are run by local boards of Realtors. However, not all homes are listed on a local MLS, such as the 9 percent of all existing homes sold last year (about 444,000 homes) that were sold by owners (FSBOs). That number is expected to grow as markets transition from buyers’ to sellers’ markets in the months to come. Right now, you can find FSBOs in your market on several websites where owners pay to have the FSBOs listed.

In addition, many wealthy and celebrity owners are keeping a growing number of homes, largely luxury properties, off of the listing services and Internet sites for privacy reasons. These are called “pocket listings,” and real estate agents use open houses and other techniques to target wealthy buyers while keeping details like asking price out of the news.

Finally, new homes may not be listed on an MLS or sites that rely on an MLS for their listings. However, you can find them on sites specifically offering new homes or sites sponsored by builders.

Concern over accuracy

All real estate sites convey the impression that their listings are complete, accurate, and current. However, a recent study found otherwise.

The WAV Group, a real estate consulting firm, recently studied different kinds of real estate sites and found that that local brokerage sites are the most accurate, up-to-date, and comprehensive. WAV Group CEO Victor Lund said, “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. 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 study found that local real estate brokerage companies display 100 percent of the brokerage’s agent-listed homes for sale compared to about 80 percent for the national portal sites. Moreover, brokerage sites show newly listed homes for sale seven to nine days earlier than national portals, and they almost never show a home listing as active that has already sold. About 36 percent of listings that appear as active on national portals are no longer for sale.

The study also 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 to 30 minutes. On the other hand, 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.

The source of brokers’ advantage is direct access to local real estate databases. Every day thousands of properties go up for sale on an MLS. Tens of thousands more listings change price or make other changes that are material to their value and that appeal to a buyer. Unless a listing database is updated every 24 hours, vital information could be three or more days old before it appears on a buyer’s screen. Buyers and sellers using a database that is updated more frequently could have a competitive advantage over those using sites with older data.

Even though sites run by real estate brokerages carry the most accurate, current, and complete listing information, they rank only fourth among the most-popular sites visited by buyers, behind MLS sites, Realtor.com, and agents’ sites, accounting for only 39 percent of all buyers, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Tips for house hunting online

  • Recognize that finding the right house for your budget and needs will probably take months. Be patient but be attentive. Check listings several times a day.
  • Use several sites, but make sure at least one is a leading local brokerage in your market. You don’t usually have to use the services of that brokerage in order to access its listings.
  • Sign up for email notifications of new listings and price changes so that you can keep abreast of new opportunities.
  • Go to open houses and meet real estate agents in the area where you want to live. Tell agents what you are looking for and they will likely notify you of new listings—even before the listings are posted.

Steve Cook is Executive Vice President of Reecon Advisors and covers government and industry news for the Reecon Advisory Report.

During his 30 year career in public relations and journalism, Cook has been a print and broadcast news correspondent, served two Members of Congress as press secretary, was a senior executive in the world’s largest independent public relations firm in Washington and Chicago and was vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Realtors from 1999 to 2007.At NAR, Cook supervised external communications including news and editorial coverage, video production, speech writing and communications strategic planning. He helped to manage NAR’s multimillion dollar network advertising program.

Cook is a member of the National Press Club, the Public Relations Society of America and the National Association of Real Estate Editors, where he served as second vice president. Twice he has been named one of the 100 most influential people in real estate. He is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where he was editor of the student newspaper. In addition to serving as managing editor of the Report, Cook provides public relations consulting services to real estate and financial services companies, and trade associations, including some of the leading companies in online residential real estate.

4 comments

  1. Paul F. says:

    What about Franchisor real estate websites (Coldwell Banker, Century 21, Re/Max, Keller Williams, etc.)? These sites receive tremendous exposure and yet not included as a comparative to MLS or portal sites. This exclusion represents a significant gap in an otherwise good article.

    • Victor Lund, WAV Group says:

      Great observation, Paul. WAV Group has not studied accuracy on Franchise Websites, but I can provide some color for you based upon what we know.

      Listings arrive at franchise websites through two methods. Sometimes they are hand entered onto the franchise websites by agents or brokers. At other times, there is a feed from the MLS to the franchise website (These feeds can be either direct from the MLS or through a service like Listhub who aggregates MLS data for some franchises). Suffice it to say that like publisher websites, the franchisor websites sit downstream of the MLS and have some of the same challenges that face publishers when the data is not direct from the MLS.

      Hence, in terms of ranking for accuracy and freshness of the data, the cascade would be broker websites, franchise websites, then publisher websites.

  2. Gail says:

    I live in Arizona, wanting to buy a house in California, because I am going to move back there. Why is it so difficult?

  3. Steve Cook says:

    Hi Gail,

    Generally Californa markets have the tightest inventories right now. Part of the reason is that competition among buyers is keen because they know prices are more affordable now than they will be in a year or so. However, prices aren’t high enough to motivate sellers.

    Steve


Leave a Comment


Name :


Commenting guidelines

We welcome your interest and participation on this forum, but be aware that comments will be published at Equifax's sole discretion. Please don't use this blog to submit questions or concerns about your Equifax credit report or raise customer service issues. Instead, you should contact Equifax directly for all such matters and any attempts to do so in this forum will be promptly re-directed.

Some other factors to consider when commenting:
  1. Registration and privacy. While no registration is required to visit our forum, participants wishing to post a message must register by creating an account. All personal information provided by forum members incident to registration is governed by our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.
  2. All comments are anonymous. We'll delete your name, e-mail address, and any other identifying information, including details about your investments.
  3. We can't post or respond to every comment - As much as we'd like to, we can't post every comment, nor can we guarantee that we will respond to each individual message. All questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or similar customer service issues should be handled by contacting Equifax directly.
  4. Don't offer specific legal, tax or financial advice. All of the materials on this Site are for information, education, and noncommercial purposes only and this forum is not intended as a means of expressing views or ideas regarding any specific legal, tax, or investment advice. While offering general rules of thumb is both permitted and encouraged, recommending specific ideas or strategies regarding investments, taxes, and related matters is prohibited.
  5. Credit Repair. This blog is not intended as a venue for the discussion or exchange of ideas regarding credit repair or other strategies intended to assist visitors and community members improve or otherwise modify their credit histories, ratings or scores.
  6. Stay on topic. Your comment should be concise and pertain to the specific post in question.
  7. Be respectful of the community. The use of profanity, offensive language, spam, and personal attacks will not be tolerated and egregious or repeat offenders will be banned from future participation. We encourage disagreement and healthy debate, but please refrain from personal attacks on our WordPresss and contributors.
  8. Finally: Participation in this forum may be terminated by Equifax immediately and without notice for failure to comply with any guidelines or Terms of Use. As such, you should familiarize yourself with all pertinent requirements prior to submitting any response through the blog or otherwise. All opinions expressed in this forum are solely those of the individual submitting the comment, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.

Equifax maintains this interactive forum for education and information purposes in order to allow individuals to share their relevant knowledge and opinions with other members and visitors. We encourage you to participate in discussions about personal finance issues and other topics of interest to this community, but please read our commenting guidelines first. Equifax reserves the right to monitor postings to the forum and comments will be published at our discretion. Do you have questions or comments about your Equifax credit report or customer-service issues regarding an Equifax product? If so, please contact Equifax directly. All opinions and information expressed or shared in blog comments are solely those of the person submitting the comments, and don't necessarily represent the views of Equifax or its management.


Real Estate Archive