The Top Real Estate Listing Sites: How They Stack Up

By: , Contributor

Published on: Mar 17, 2020 | Updated on: Mar 24, 2020

Wondering which real estate listing site is best for you? Look no further. Here's how the top sites compare and the pros and cons of each.

In today's digital age, there is no shortage of real estate listing sites. If you're trying to buy or sell real estate, it can seem overwhelming trying to navigate the variety of websites or knowing which listing website is best.

This article compiles the top real estate listing sites for both residential and commercial real estate, sharing the pros and cons of each to help you determine which listing website is best for your needs.

Best real estate listing websites for buyers and sellers

Shockingly, most websites here are great for both buyers and sellers. As a buyer, you want to gain access to the latest listings and be able to narrow your search down to your specific criteria. As a seller, you want your listing seen by the greatest number of people in an effortless manner. Below are the best real estate listing websites today for both buyers and sellers of residential and commercial real estate.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

The multiple listing services, or the MLS for short, is by far the best listing site for buyers and sellers of commercial or residential real estate. When a property is listed on the MLS through an agent or real estate brokerage, it is also listed automatically on many of the sites below, allowing for maximum exposure in the market.

MLS Pros and Cons

Pros Cons

• The property will be seen by the greatest number of potential people and will increase the odds of your property being bought or sold as quickly as possible.

• Is placed on multiple websites and platforms like Zillow (NASDAQ: Z) (NASDAQ: ZG), Trulia, Realtor.com, Redfin (NASDAQ: RDFN), or Loopnet (if a commercial property).

• Property can generally only be listed by a real estate agent or through a real estate brokerage, meaning you must work with a real estate agent.

• Some states allow you to list a property in the MLS yourself for a flat-rate listing fee.

Zillow (NASDAQ: Z) (NASDAQ: ZG)

Zillow is one of the largest players in the real estate industry, dominating search engine results. In 2019, Zillow saw 8.1 billion visitors with 80 million homes being updated by users. This is a huge hub for buying, selling, and renting residential real estate and single-family homes.

Zillow Pros and Cons

Pros Cons

• A huge market potential that allows for maximum real estate marketing.

• You can set alerts for new listings and sort by property type, area, or other property features.

•Properties can be added by users as for sale by owner (FSBO), which means off-market properties can be found on this site.

• You can automatically see similar for-sale properties or manually search for comparable properties that sold recently in the area.

• Connect with mortgage brokers, lenders, or real estate agents directly from the site.

• Now has an iBuying platform that provides instant offers with Zillow Offers, which allows homeowners to sell their home quickly, site unseen.

• Properties can be added by users, meaning certain information including property features, photos, or sales prices can be inaccurate or outdated.

Trulia

Trulia was acquired by the Zillow Group in 2013 and offers many of the same features and functionality as Zillow does; however, it focuses more on the community and neighborhood features surrounding the property at hand. Users can find out information about nearby schools, get local insights into the neighborhood, check out crime rates, and more.

Trulia Pros and Cons

Pros Cons

• See the quality of nearby schools and the crime rate in the area on an easy-to-use heat map.

• Set alerts for new listings and sort by property type, area, or other property features.

• Automatically see similar for-sale and sold properties.

• Connect with other real estate professionals like mortgage brokers, lenders, or real estate agents directly from the site.

• Some properties will have limited information if the property appraiser website isn't easily accessible.

Realtor.com

Realtor.com has all properties listed in the MLS on its site. If you're in need of a buyer's agent or listing agent, this is a great place to look as all Realtors listed on the website are trusted by the NAR.

Realtor.com Pros and Cons

Pros Cons

• Set alerts for new listings and sort by property type, area, or other property features.

• See pricing history, the quality of nearby schools, and neighborhood statistics from Moving.com.

• Automatically see similar for-sale and sold properties.

• Connect with mortgage brokers, lenders, or real estate agents directly from the site.

• Not as user-friendly as other listing websites, making it a less-appealing option for those who seek user interface over data.

Redfin (NASDAQ: RDFN)

Redfin is another goliath among the real estate listing sites. This company started out as a general listing website but has recently shifted its focus on its low-listing fee service called Redfin Agent, which aligns buyers and sellers with an agent to help them find or sell their home at a fraction of the cost.

Redfin Pros and Cons

Pros Cons

• Can list directly with Redfin, paying only a 1% listing fee rather than a 3% to 6% commission to a real estate agent.

• The Redfin Agent service includes a comparative market analysis (CMA), a customized marketing plan, professional photography, and a 3D walk-through.

• Set alerts for new listings and sort by property type, area, or other property features.

• Properties can be added by users as for sale by owner (FSBO), which means off-market properties can be found on this site.

• Automatically see similar for-sale properties and sold properties in the area.

• Connect with mortgage brokers, lenders, or real estate agents directly from the site.

• Now has an iBuying platform that provides instant offers with Redfin Now, allowing homeowners to sell their home quickly, site unseen.

Mainly targeted for homebuyers and sellers who do not have a listing agent and may be off-putting for those who are already working with an agent.

LoopNet

LoopNet is the leading listing website for commercial real estate (CRE) and is by far the best resource when buying, selling, or leasing a commercial property.

LoopNet Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Allows you to search across all CRE sectors and set up alerts for new property listings based on your criteria. You can set alerts for new listings and sort by property type, area, or other property features. You can directly download offering memorandums or contact the listing agent directly from the site. It requires users to sign up, even though most of the features and services are free.

RealtyTrac

RealtyTrac is a listing website for bank-owned properties, pre-foreclosure, or auction listings with over 120 million properties for sale. Properties on RealtyTrac can either be off-market listings for properties set for auction, soon to be listed, or already listed in the MLS. This search engine is great for real estate investors looking for an investment property to purchase.

RealtyTrac Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Once registered, you can set alerts for new listings or sort by property type, area, or other property features. See pricing history, comparable properties, and tax and market history. It provides additional information such as schools, crime, unemployment rate, drug lab, flood, and environmental risks. It requires you to register and pay for access. It doesn't always connect you with the right sales agent, making it difficult to know who to follow up with to submit an offer.

Facebook Marketplace (NASDAQ: FB)

Most people think of Facebook as a social media platform, but with 800 million users monthly, Facebook Marketplace is now becoming a leading listing website for properties for sale or rent. Real estate listings are a huge share of the Marketplace's listings, allowing users to search for rental property, homes for sale, or other real estate listings from the mobile app or desktop app.

Facebook Marketplace Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Can search by property features, price, or zip code range, allowing for super-specific search results. Directly contact the listing agent, seller, or property manager within the app. Find off-market properties that aren't always listed on other industry websites. No comparable sales or industry statistics about the real estate market, neighborhood, crime, tax information, or other helpful resources. Can have the same listing multiple times giving repeat results. You have to manually add a listing to Marketplace; it cannot be automatically added when a listing is added to the MLS.

Tips for using real estate listing sites

If you plan on using any of the listing sites above, determine which website is best for your needs and spend some time exploring the site and getting to know its features and tools. Often websites offer far more than the users realize, and taking advantage of all of them can increase the functionality and productivity of the site. Most users don't rely on one listing site alone and use multiple platforms to list their next sale or search for their next purchase.

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Randi Zuckerberg, a former director of market development and spokeswoman for Facebook and sister to its CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Liz Brumer-Smith has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Facebook, Redfin, and Zillow Group (A shares). The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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