Zillow is one of the top multiple listing service curation apps on the market right now. More than 36 million people visit its website or use its app each month to look for various properties across the United States. Saturday Night Live even did a commercial spoof on the company staring host Dan Levy of Schitt’s Creek.
But how accurate is this app? Does Zillow show all houses for sale or do some remain hidden? Learn more about Zillow and how you can find some hidden listings if you know where to look.
Zillow shows most houses for sale. This app works by pulling properties from a multiple listing service (MLS) feed. Real estate agents can post their listings to Zillow directly or have their listings pulled and shared by the app. This means you are likely to find the same houses on Zillow as on other real estate listing sites (like Trulia and Realtor.com) and within the MLS that your agent shares with you.
However, most does not mean all. There are times when a listing does not show up on Zillow – or when certain listings are hard to find.
Zillow Highlights Listings by Agents
When you first open the Zillow app, you will see a variety of listings in your area. You can sort these by specific criteria (price, home size, features) or browse around to get an idea of home costs. At first glance, these might look like all of the listings in your area. However, they are only agent listings. They are homes that are actively for sale and listing through an MLS or listed by an agent.
At the top of the search page, you can toggle away from these agent listings. Zillow also posts “other” listings which might interest some buyers. The other category includes houses that are listed as FSBO (for sale by owner), houses in foreclosure, and houses in pre-foreclosure.
Houses that are in pre-foreclosure are not necessarily for sale. However, you may be able to ask your Realtor to see a house that is listed as FSBO or that is going through the foreclosure process. (Keep in mind that getting a mortgage may be more difficult for a house that has gone through foreclosure and you can’t get a mortgage on a house bought sight unseen at a foreclosure auction.)
If you are in a high-demand area where there aren’t many houses on the market, look at the other tab in Zillow to find properties that might otherwise go unnoticed.
There Might Be a Lag Between Listing and Posting on Zillow
Just because a home is listed for sale doesn’t mean it will be listed on Zillow. First, there could be a lag in the MLS updates. The seller’s agent could put up the For Sale sign before the property goes live on the MLS. It could take a few hours for Zillow to pull from the MLS feed to update its listings.
Some agents also showcase homes on brokerage websites before they share them to the MLS. This drives people to look at the brokerage website, improving their search rankings and their local name recognition. Additionally, by sharing listings on the brokerage website first, other agents within their team can send the listings to their clients before the general public sees them on Zillow. They might be able to get showings scheduled and submit offers before there is a flood of online requests.
Some Sellers Want Their Listings to Stay Private
There are other reasons why a home that is for sale might not get listed. An agent might have a pocket listing, or a home that is for sale but not openly advertised. Some sellers want their home sales to be private, which is why they opt for pocket listings. These homeowners could be celebrities or people in the area who don’t want to draw attention to themselves.
The state of the house could also be a cause for a pocket listing, as the homeowner doesn’t want the listing to seem stale by keeping it on the market for several months. If major repairs are needed or the decor is too dramatic for most buyers, the agent will keep the listing in their pocket.
Real estate agents talk to each other constantly. If a seller’s agent has a pocket listing, they will reach out to high-potential Realtors in their circle and let them know about it. For example, if a professional basketball player wants to sell his beachfront mansion, the seller’s agent will call other Realtors who specialize in high-end real estate to see if they have any clients who could be a good fit for the home.
Agents Compete, You Win.
Hire a Realtor who can help you find your deam house.
Zillow Removes Pending and Sold Homes from Listings
Does Zillow show all houses for sale? For the most part, yes. The app will show listings that are active while removing listings that are no longer available for the average buyer. When you make an offer on the house, it moves into pending status. This means the seller is not accepting offers as the buyer works through the inspection, appraisal, financing, and closing process. A house can be considered pending for several weeks (or even months) depending on the offer agreement.
To prevent its listings from getting clogged with unavailable homes, Zillow removes any pending listings from the search results. These listings stay removed when the home sells.
However, you can still find these properties on Zillow. If you have saved a property as a favorite home then you will see its status in the saved tab. If you search for a specific address, you can see a property and when it was sold. Zillow will remove many of the photos after a home sells, but you can still get an idea of the sale price and the house’s potential value.
There are times when a pending sale doesn’t go through. The financing might not work out or the seller can’t reach an agreement with the buyer. When this happens, the house is relisted. If you find a house you love that is pending, you may want to save it on the app in case it hits the market again.
Hire a Realtor So You Don’t Rely on Zillow
While Zillow is a useful tool for finding homes, not every house is on the app. There may be some hidden gems that haven’t hit the market yet because of pocket listings and technology delays.
The best way to get access to the latest listings – and to make appointments to tour them – is to hire an agent. An experienced Realtor will stay on top of new listings and let you know what is available. At UpNest, we can help you find an agent who finds the best homes in your area. Try our services today – they are free for buyers and sellers.
Can your find FSBO homes on Zillow?
You can find houses that are listed for sale by owner (FSBO) in your area on the Zillow app. However, the app tends to hide these listings from users in the “other” section of the search tab. You can also find homes that are in foreclosure and pre-foreclosure in this section.
What does pending status mean?
When you make an offer on a house and the seller accepts it, the property moves into pending status. This means the seller is no longer accepting offers and the buyer is actively taking steps to buy the home. During the pending period, the buyer secures financing and completes the inspection and appraisal processes.
What is a pocket listing?
A pocket listing is a home for sale that is not posted on multiple listing service (MLS) feeds or openly advertised. The seller could request that the listing stay hidden or the seller’s agent could wait to market the property until a few potential clients have seen it. This creates exclusivity and increases demand for the home.
Agents Compete, You Win.
Hire a Realtor to help you find hidden gems.