Have you ever done research online to buy or sell a home, or to see how much your home might be worth? If so, you’ve probably used sites such as Zillow or Trulia. While these two sites are quite similar in that both share free real estate market data (and are both part of Zillow Group), there are also many differences between the two.
Here is an evaluation of Zillow and Trulia’s estimator tools to help you accurately compare the two companies.
Similarities Between Zillow and Trulia
Both Zillow and Trulia allow you to look at listings of homes for sale. The two sites alike display “featured” homes, which are listed by agents who pay to have their listings appear at the top of the search results and to have their agent profiles displayed alone instead of alongside those of competing agents.
Additionally, both sites also display county public records on properties, and let homeowners correct facts about their homes online. Getting public records fixed, however, requires contacting the county assessor’s office.
Differences Between Zillow and Trulia
When searching for a home, Zillow lets you filter by year built or lot area. Trulia offers a few more filter options when compared to Zillow, including price-reduced date, dollar amount or percentage, price per square foot, Transit Score, number of photos, or popularity.
Both Zillow and Trulia allow you to limit your search to homes within a specified price range and sort search-result listings by newest, price, number of bedrooms or bathrooms and square footage.
Both sites make it extremely easy for you to see comparable listings and recently sold homes near a specific property, however, there are definitely some major differences between the two sites to take note of.
Zillow offers a nifty feature that Trulia does not have; the “Zestimate” home value is Zillow's estimated market value for an individual home and is calculated for about 100 million homes throughout the nation. This tool is a starting point in determining a home's value. It is important to note that this is not an official appraisal.
The “Zestimate” is automatically computed on a daily basis, collecting information on millions of public and user-submitted data points. Zillow also provides a Rent “Zestimate” estimated monthly rental price.
Zillow’s housing payment calculator is a great resource; it actually includes taxes, homeowners insurance, and mortgage insurance, if applicable. It doesn’t just show you an ultra-low monthly mortgage payment.
“Zillow’s Zestimates” can also be useful for investors or even those deciding between renting vs. owning. Zillow even provides an abundance of real estate listings, complete with photos, sales history, tax information, and even a housing payment estimate.
To truly compare the two sites, let’s dive into what Trulia offers: “Trulia Estimates” are a bit different than “Zillow’s Zestimates;” Trulia also states that some of its estimates are more accurate than others. However, this disclosure isn’t as apparent when you take a look at individual listings.
They also offer a “Trulia Estimate,” which is quite similar to a Zillow Estimate. Furthermore, Trulia encourages users to request a report on any home whose value is of interest to them. You are then put in touch with a local real estate agent.
What sets these two sites apart is their local map view data, but let’s start with the similarities: Both Trulia and Zillow alike display Walk Scores and ratings of nearby schools from GreatSchools.org with individual listings and display trends in area home prices.
Trulia takes the lead here: With Trulia, you can see comparable sales, nearby schools, crimes, amenities, and transit, all on a map next to the property you’re considering. This data can help you get a better idea of a property’s surroundings, which goes beyond standard real estate listings.
Accuracy of Estimates
Zillow’s Data Accuracy
Zillow is forthcoming about how accurate its estimates are; the site displays a range of possible high and low values when you click on a particular home. Zillow also uses a star rating system to show users how confident it is about “Zestimates” overall in various metropolitan areas.
Zillow also provides robust data, such as detailed square footage data, selling prices for a given area, and real estate trends. The site provides good insight into house values.
On the downside for Zillow, the site doesn’t display the interest rate assumed to calculate the principal and interest payment; instead, it just links to another page where you can get lender interest rate quotes based on your credit score.
Another fault of Zillow: The site seems to constantly display outdated listings, whether they’ve already sold, are now pending, or taken off the market entirely. Just when you’ve come up with four or five properties you’d like to check out, they come back with “sold,” “pending,” or “bulldozed.” For this reason, in terms of timeliness, Zillow misses the mark.
Trulia’s Data Accuracy
The accuracy of “Trulia Estimates” is continuously monitored by comparing the actual sales prices for recently sold homes over a three-month period with those homes’ estimates at the end of the month prior to sale.
For each county and state, Trulia reports the median absolute error of these differences and the percentage of sales where “Trulia Estimates” were within 5%, 10% and 20% of the final sale prices.
Disadvantages of Both Sites
It doesn’t seem like either company's property tax estimate tells you what you will end up paying in taxes when the property changes ownership — which could wind up being significantly more.
Also, insurance costs can vary by hundreds of dollars. This truly depends on which insurance company you choose, the home’s estimated replacement cost (which is less than the purchase price since homeowners insurance doesn’t cover the land), as well as the deductible you select.
Neither Zillow’s nor Trulia’s monthly payment estimates are likely to reflect what you will actually end up paying. To get an accurate assessment, you will need to consult with a real estate agent, a mortgage lender and an insurance agent.
Both companies have many similarities, differences, strengths and weaknesses, but the bottom line is that they are both interested in connecting real estate industry professionals with consumers.
Zillow focuses on the full lifecycle of owning and living in a home; through buying, selling, renting, financing, remodeling and beyond. Trulia on the other hand, retains a narrower focus on the home-search process.
However, because both of these companies receive data in different ways and at different times, you may find a lot of discrepancies between them — which can certainly be frustrating.That’s why it’s best to take the information you find on these sites with a grain of salt; always consult with your agent to ensure you are getting the most accurate data.
Comparative Market Analysis
A comparative market analysis (CMA) is an examination of the prices at which similar properties in the same area recently sold. Real estate agents perform a comparative market analysis for their clients to help them determine the most optimal price to list when selling a home, or a price to offer when buying a home.
Since no two properties are ever identical, agents make adjustments for the differences between the sold properties and the one that is about to be purchased or listed in an effort to determine a fair offer or sale price.
A comparative market analysis is essentially a less-sophisticated version of a formal, more professional appraisal. Sellers should always opt for this approach when it comes time to actually assess the real value of their homes and set a listing price.
Clever Partner Agents will provide a free CMA with no obligation to sign. Contact Clever to learn more and get connected with a top-rated, local agent.