The trouble with Internet real estate listings

28 Park Avenue in Old Greenwich as shown on a Century 21 website from Stamford. They got the zip right, but it’s downhill from there. The Google map they provide locates it on Park Avenue in Greenwich, the Trulia “comps” they offer are not only all central Greenwich properties, they’d be irrelevant even for the Greenwich Park Avenue: lower Lake Avenue, for instance, is just not the same, even if it’s less than a half-mile away.

I think the pictures are accurate, but it’s erroneous crap like this display that gives me hope I can make a living despite the Internet. At least, I hope, for another 10 or fifteen years.


Filed under Uncategorized

23 responses to “The trouble with Internet real estate listings

  1. Stump

    Zillow reports my Greenwich (06830) home as being in the Stamford school district. I have no idea how they can screw up something like that.

  2. Real Torme

    “it’s erroneous crap like this display that gives me hope I can make a living despite the Internet. At least, I hope, for another 10 or fifteen years.”

    Don’t count on it.

    • You’re right – as of today, I’m changing my business model and will start ripping off my clients – with luck, I’ll make a few million this year and can change careers – time to be an investment banker!

  3. anonymous

    Can you tell me about a new listing at 6 Spring House?? Thanks!

    • It’s a whole bunch of money, but I haven’t seen it – I believe it has an open house tomorrow, but I’ll check when I get into the office (I work on a Mac at home, and our ridiculous MLS system only works with Windows).

  4. Anonymous

    Traders and investors have vastly more and real-time, essentially free to public, data available on an iPhone/Blackberry/iPad today than elders had 10-20yrs ago

    Probably more <40yo hedge fund billionaires and centimillionaires today than in Stone Age of pre-mobile computing, pre-Net/yahoo finance, pre-Bloomie

    Always will have a shortage of valuable interpretation and advice re: market data…thus ample fees for any competent (and many inept) advisors or money managers

  5. SlappedAss

    If you’re going to report then report both sides of the story. I have seen hundreds of “Realtor” generated listings online with the following: Typos, grammatical errors, horrendous or nonexistent written descriptions, one picture of the outside of the home, pictures that are obviously out of date-snow in the picture and the listing is seen in June, outright lies concerning the condition, the list goes on and on. Zillow and Trulia derive their information from public records. We all know the level of incompetence at any local town hall. Garbage in garbage out. Any erroneous information on those two websites originates with incorrect public records. Realtors, who are essentially sales and marketing people, should have a higher level of competence than a clerk in a town hall, but in many instances that is not the case.

    Look at this genius Realtor written listing:

    The description: LEVEL LOT. Wow, I need to get in touch with this Realtor to pay him/her 5% to sell my Greenwich property! What a marketing effort, I would have never thought of that sort of a hard hitting, traffic generating description. Amazing.

    You may take shots at Zillow or Trulia, but I can almost guarantee those two sites are the future of RE, and the demise of the illegal, fixed commission, allocated market system of the MLS.

    • Tell you what, Slapped – pick a Zillow price and bid exactly that value. You’ll get the house you want, save all those nasty commissions and you’ll be all set, with nothing further to complain about.

  6. putting you realtors out of business

    it is obvious not rocket science to price a house. people should just work privately with lawyers and ax out the middle man or woman greedy realtor. almost all realtors add no value to the deal. for some realtors, they could be selling oranges for the amount of interest they take in what they are selling.

  7. SlappedAss

    I have to agree with the PP. Realtors bring ZERO value to the transaction. As much as they believe they do, the reality is they don’t. The last two houses I sold , I used FSBO.Com. That after much frustration giving Realtors the chance to get the deal done. essentially, I was dealing with uneducated housewives who took an 8 hour real estate class, and then called themselves experts. After a short time I realized that I knew more about selling real estate than most real estate agents. Why would I pay for expertise, or information that I could obtain myself with very little effort? This is the inherent problem with real estate people. The expertise and information they provided used to be monopolized through the MLS, but now all that information is readily available, for FREE to anyone with a computer and internet connection.
    I believe that after this current real estate downturn subsides in five or so years, the public will have been sufficiently educated in the value of online real estate shopping and listing, and the inherent inefficiency of the traditional fixed commission, anti-competitive markets that have existed for the last 75 years will become obsolete. There will probably be some sort of hybrid model that will become dominant. Low commission paired with online/FSBO type transactions.

  8. SlappedAss

    I maybe a moron. But, if I were I think I would have had trouble graduating from the very well known university that I did. Possibly would have trouble running the business that I do. But you know what they say, opinions are like a-holes, everyone has one, including you. You’ll back peddle, like you do, and tell me how sorry you are for calling me a moron. No need. Moronic or not, the reality is, you are an old timer working in a has been industry filled with uneducated, housewives turned wanna be business people. Most of whom are now unable to make a living. Unfortunately not many employment options for 60 somethings who only know Greenwich real estate. Must be frustrating.

    • No slapped ass, I won’t back pedal (peddle is “to sell” – what well-known university did you attend, exactly?) you are an ignorant moron in this aspect of the business world, but I’m sure you’re an expert in your own field, whatever that is. Your mistake is believing that knowledge in one field makes you a master of the universe – quite common among your type.

  9. Anonymous

    Perhaps you might want to read the chapter in “Freakonomics” on the future of real estate sales and the traditional commission model.

  10. just_looking

    It is common knowledge that a house is most Americans single largest investment, yet the regulation and requirements of the participants are much less than that of the securities industry. I am generally a believer of less gov’t, not more, but since RE represents such a significant investment for most Americans, the RE industry should be more regulated, licensing requirements higher, KYC and suitability guidelines, license revocations and expulsion for infractions – for all professions involved in the process (listing agents, buyer agents, mortgage brokers, home inspectors and anyone else I may have missed).

    As in many profession the range of abilities is much wider than the range of rates, probably more so in industries with lower barriers to entry. Thus you will find more “uneducated housewives” in RE than in a medical practice, but you will also occasionally find knowledgeable value add re brokers such as CF.

  11. Anonymous

    the reason for a moderated site is to keep folks like ‘slappedass’ off the page. they cause the discussion to degenerate, fueled by their anger or frustration at some slight that their therapist has yet to remediate.

  12. Hiram

    CF, thanks for hitting SlappedAss on the “backpedal” mistake, although it really is one word, not two.

  13. Slapped Ass

    Based on the unprovoked “moron” insult thrown at me, I was in the advanced stages of deciding which method of suicide to employ. But along came Hiram to defend me. A minuscule defense, but a defense nonetheless.

    Backpedal is one word, which means to change one’s opinion. CF unfortunately stumbled in his attempt to make me look unable to write proper English by using the incorrect iteration, “back pedal.”

    I would propose the idea that maybe my usage was intentional, but misunderstood.
    The definition and context of my two words, back and peddle should be reviewed.

    Back: adv. In, to, or toward a past time.

    Peddle: 1. To travel about selling wares.
    2. To occupy oneself with trifles

    Since I was commenting on the past manner in which real estate sales were conducted, I think my usage could be appropriate, even if the play on words went very high over the head of the moderator.
    I really do get a huge kick out of seeing people attack anyone who offers up an opinion they don’t agree with. Comments like the one from the spineless poster who goes by the unique moniker “anonymous”. People who don’t agree should not allow to post. There is some forward thinking.
    I appreciate your comment, and your respect for free speech.

  14. You can't handle the truth

    What people forget is that there would be NO agency if both parties to a transaction could, by some magic formula, agree to a number.

    Unfortunately, whether you’re talking about Hollywood, sports stars, etc etc etc, where there is NO accurate system of valuation, there will be 2 sides of the coin and 2 agents that will have to bring both together.

    Suck it up and pay up Slapped Ass.

  15. Anonymous

    re slappedass at 4:27. hooray for you banging down on ‘anonymous’. you are so brave. checked the internet for your address and phone number and found nothing. so why are you any different? did all your friends at the frat house call you slappedass?

  16. out looking in

    I say- bring on the Grizz. And Ass Slapper, please let me know which famous university you graduated from so I can make sure not to send my kids theire (or my children- i raise goats!)

  17. Slapped Ass

    Out looking in, I never stated I graduated from a “famous” university, if you can, reread my post. I clearly state I graduated from a well known university. Whether you send your children there or not, is of no consequence to me. You can send your kids “theire” I suppose. Although, I don’t fully understand, since “theire” is not a word in the English language. You may be better served to insure your children don’t attend or graduate the same school you did, as it seems you have quite a difficult time with reading, writing and spelling English. Are you a Realtor too?