Redfin, Zillow, and Trulia are three of the most popular real estate websites. Each one lets you browse for sale listings and offers home value estimates to help you figure out how much a property is worth.
That said, all three websites have strengths and weaknesses, especially when it comes to the accuracy of those estimates. Further, when you're buying or selling a house, pricing is too important to rely on a computer-generated estimate that's typically thousands of dollars off the mark.
You need the expertise of a licensed real estate agent who's qualified to price homes competitively — or craft compelling offers — for your local market.
Ready to find a great local realtor? Clever can match you with handpicked agents in your local market from top brokerages like Berkshire Hathaway and RE/MAX. Clever also negotiates HUGE savings for you. With Clever, you can sell your home for a $3,000 or 1% listing fee — or buy a house and get a cash-back refund.
What is Redfin?
Redfin is a low commission real estate company that offers discounted listing fees for home sellers and rebates for some buyers. But, while its core business is helping people buy and sell homes, Redfin is probably better known for its house hunting app and website.
With Redfin, you can research homes for sale in 80+ markets across the U.S. It pulls in data straight from the local multiple listing service (MLS), ensuring that property information is as accurate and up-to-date as possible. Unlike Zillow, though, you won't find many "for sale by owner" (FSBO) listings because Redfin does not allow sellers to post listings themselves.
All listings feature a Redfin estimate, which is the company's best guess at what the property is currently worth. Redfin bases these computer-generated estimates on details about the property, local housing market data, and public records like tax assessments.
Unfortunately, Redfin does have one major drawback vs Zillow and Trulia — at least for some users. It only shows listings in locations where Redfin has a team of in-house agents. If you're outside Redfin's service area, it isn't very useful.
How accurate are Redfin estimates?
Median error rate*
Homes currently for sale
*Median error rate based on Redfin data.
Redfin estimates are fairly accurate, but they're no substitute for a professional home value report or appraisal.
According to Redfin's website, its estimates have a median error rate of 2.84% for on-market homes and 8.39% for off-market properties.ⓘ
|✍️ Editor's note|
Redfin's margin of error on home estimates might seem pretty small, but it makes a huge difference when you're trying to figure out what a house is really worth!
On the median U.S. home, Redfin's estimate could be off by an average of $8,200-24,100, depending on whether it's currently listed for sale.
If you've owned your home for several years and you're curious about what you could sell it for, Redfin's estimate can be useful. For example, it can give you a rough idea of whether your home's value is closer to $300,000 or $350,000. But it's not a great tool when you're deciding on a list price or thinking about making an offer.
Selling or buying a home is one of life's biggest financial decisions, and relying on a faulty estimate could be an expensive mistake. We recommend working with an experienced realtor who knows the ins and outs of your local market and can help you negotiate the best deal possible.
How good are Redfin agents?
In addition to its house hunting tools, Redfin also connects buyers and sellers with its team of in-house agents. Working with Redfin agents may be a good option if your top priority is saving on commission and you're willing to accept a few potential service tradeoffs.
When you sell with Redfin, you'll get a 1.5% listing fee, which drops to 1% if you buy with Redfin too. That's a lot cheaper than the standard 3% commission rate traditional realtors charge, but Redfin's not the only 1% commission real estate company, so it's worth comparing your options.
While Redfin's business model creates savings, it also comes with a few service quality risks. Redfin agents earn a salary, so they have less direct financial incentive than realtors who work on commission. They also juggle triple the number of customers as a typical realtor, which may limit their ability to provide personalized support.
What is Zillow?
Zillow is one of the largest real estate companies in the United States. Next to getting instant MLS alerts from an agent, its home buying app is the #1 way to find houses for sale online.
For sellers, Zillow is one of the best websites to post "for sale by owner" listings. And, through its "iBuying" division — Zillow Instant Offers — the company purchases houses in select markets for cash.
Like Redfin, Zillow offers a free tool that lets sellers and buyers see a home's estimated value. A computer-generated model calculates each "Zestimate" using historical data and local market trends.
How accurate are Zillow Zestimates?
Median error rate*
Homes currently for sale
*Median error rate based on Zillow data.
Zillows notes that its Zestimates have a median error rate of 1.9% for on-market homes and 6.9% for off-market homes. That makes Zestimates slightly more accurate than Redfin estimates, but they're still off by an average of $5,500-19,800, based on the median U.S. home value.
As with Redfin estimates, Zestimates can give you a general idea of what your home is worth, but you shouldn't rely on them during an actual real estate transaction.
In fact, Zillow co-founder Spencer Rascoff famously sold a house for 40% below its Zestimate. Then, when Rascoff purchased a new home in 2020, he paid 30% above the Zestimate.
How good are Zillow agents?
Unlike Redfin, Zillow doesn't actually employ its own agents — it makes money by charging realtors to advertise on its website. If you click "Contact Agent" on a Zillow listing, the company will send your information to an agent who pays Zillow to connect them with customers.
Simply put, this is a risky way to find a realtor.
Zillow doesn't screen its partner agents for quality, so you may not get matched with a top performer. Zillow could send you a veteran realtor who's sold dozens of homes in your neighborhood… or you might get a brand-new agent who's never even closed a deal.
What is Trulia?
Trulia is another popular real estate website. It's owned by Zillow, so both websites display the same listings and property information.
The main difference between Redfin vs Zillow vs Trulia is that Trulia features a lot more information about individual neighborhoods — including reviews from people who live there — which makes it a better resource for buyers and renters who are moving to an unfamiliar area.
How accurate are Trulia estimates?
Since Zillow owns Trulia, both websites feature the same data. This means Trulia's home value estimates are identical to Zillow's Zestimates, with a median error rate of 6.9% for off-market homes.
However, unlike Zillow, Trulia does not display estimates for properties that are currently for sale.
The scoop: Redfin vs Zillow vs Trulia
Sellers who want to save on commission (compare savings here)
Home buyers who are ready to start looking at houses
Renters and long-distance buyers who want to scope out neighborhoods
When comparing Redfin vs Zillow vs Trulia, you'll find many similar features. Buyers can browse for sale listings on all three real estate websites. And like Zillow, Redfin also provides home value estimates. With a margin of error of 2.84% for homes on the market and 8.39% for off-market homes, Redfin estimates are slightly less accurate than Zestimates (median error rate of 1.9% for on-market and for 6.9% off-market).
Additionally, all three websites make money by connecting buyers and sellers with real estate agents. But, unlike Zillow, which shows you agents from different brokers, if you use Redfin, you'll be working with one of their in-house agents.
Does Redfin or Zillow have better agents?
If you're looking for a real estate agent, Redfin is probably a better choice than Zillow since it provides built-in discounts for most customers — albeit with a few potential tradeoffs.
But, depending on your needs and situation, you can likely find a local agent from a low-fee brokerage who provides more overall value than either Zillow or Redfin.
Why are Redfin and Zillow estimates so different?
Although Redfin and Zillow both have fairly accurate home valuation tools, they'll sometimes calculate drastically different price estimates for the same house.
This usually happens when one of the companies bases an estimate on faulty or incomplete data. For example, if you've renovated your home since your last tax assessment, your Zestimate or Redfin estimate may be based on outdated information.
Both websites allow you to "claim" your home profile and submit updated details, which should bring your estimate closer to your home's true value.
Is Redfin better than Zillow (or is Trulia the best)?
Redfin, Zillow, and Trulia all offer useful tools for home buyers and sellers, but none of them is a one-size-fits-all solution. Deciding whether Redfin vs Zillow vs Trulia is best for you depends on where you're at on your real estate journey.
When you're buying a home, Zillow has the most listings, while Trulia offers tools that make it easier to compare neighborhoods when buying long distance.
If you're selling, Redfin offers discounted listing fees when you work with one of its agents. That's a better deal than you'll likely find with an agent you meet through Zillow or Trulia.
The best alternatives to Redfin, Zillow, and Trulia
There's much more to the buying or selling process than computer-generated estimates and house hunting apps. These are the best alternatives to help you find the perfect home — or save thousands when you sell.
Top alternatives for buyers
When you're looking at homes for sale online, it's hard to beat the convenience of Zillow, Redfin, and Trulia. But, there's no harm in trying alternative websites, especially if you're open to non-conventional properties like foreclosures or houses for sale by owner.
Some of the top home buying websites like Zillow include:
But, no matter where you browse real estate listings, you should enlist the support of a top real estate agent once you're ready to start touring homes in person. The right agent has the local market knowledge to help you find competitively-priced properties that you'll love — and avoid costly home buying mistakes along the way.
Top alternatives for sellers
If you're looking for an agent to sell your home, finding them on a website like Zillow isn't your best choice. Instead, look for a low cost realtor who provides full-service support but provides steep discounts on commission.
The best low commission companies, like Clever, offer bigger discounts than Redfin while also providing ALL the service and support you'd expect from a traditional realtor.
When you sell with Clever, you'll work with a top local agent from companies like Keller Williams and Coldwell Banker. They'll be your expert guide through every step of your sale, from setting your listing price to navigating the closing process.
The best part? You'll pay just $3,000 in listing fees (or 1% on homes above $350,000). Since Clever helps its partner agents find new customers at zero upfront cost, your realtor can charge you a fraction of their standard rates without sacrificing service quality.
Top FAQs about Redfin vs Zillow and Trulia
No. Redfin's home value estimates are slightly less accurate than Zillow Zestimates, based on company-supplied data. Both Redfin and Zillow can give you a rough idea of what your home is worth, but no real estate website can gauge a property's value with 100% accuracy. Their estimates have a median error rate of around 7-8% for homes that aren't currently for sale — or about $20,000, on average. To find out what your home is actually worth, find an experienced real estate agent and request a professional home valuation.
Zillow and Trulia are owned by the same company, so they offer a fairly similar experience overall. Zillow is generally better for home buyers and sellers, but Trulia offers excellent tools for researching rental listings. That said, neither Zillow nor Trulia is a great place to find a real estate agent, especially if you want to save on realtor commission or earn a cash-back refund when you buy.
Redfin. "About the Redfin Estimate." Accessed July 14, 2021.
Zillow. "What is a Zillow Zestimate?." Accessed July 14, 2021.