Where To Find REAL Information About West Bank Real Estate - It's Not Where You Think!

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Crescent City Living LLC

Recently, the big daddy of all real estate sites, Realtor.com, changed their look and added several new features designed to make it easier for home buyers and sellers to find out everything they need to know about buying or selling a house.  It's a nice looking site.  It's easy to navigate.  And it's a huge disappointment to me.

Why?

One of the big upgrades to the site is the inclusion of home valuations or "What's My House Worth?".  Unless you are the type of person who looks at every inch of a screen or reads all of the fine print, you might miss this disclaimer:

Calculated estimates?

Or this one:

18 months?  Really?

Or maybe even this one:

Old AND incomplete?

Hmmmm...very interesting.  Or not.

Calculated estimates?

I'm pretty sure that when you are trying to find out the value of your West Bank home, you want real information, not calculated estimates.  I'm positive that if you are considering selling your home you need to review the real market data to know how to properly price it to compete with the other homes for sale in the area. 

18 months?

In today's market, appraisers are looking for comparable sales that have taken place within the last 90 days, but will go as far back as 6 months if needed.  18 months in the real estate market is a lifetime ago and has no bearing on what your home is worth TODAY.  I'm astounded troubled by the fact that a site that says it promotes the value of using professional REALTORS would put out information that is basically useless, even if the disclaimers say to contact a local real estate professional.

How to Find Your Home's Value

In my opinion, the only real source for local real estate information is a local expert.  And I don't just mean someone who has a Louisiana license.  I mean someone who is familiar with the real estate market in YOUR community.  Do you live in Metairie or the River Parishes or the North Shore?  Call a REALTOR who works that market everyday.  If you live on the West Bank of New Orleans, I invite you to call me.  A free, accurate market analysis is just one of the services I provide...without all of the fine print.

Lisa Heindel New Orleans West Bank Real Estate Specialist

Copyright 2008.  Lisa Heindel and West Bank Living.  All rights reserved.

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Ambassador
244,303
Jesse & Kathy Clifton
Jesse Clifton & Associates, REALTORS® - Fairbanks, AK
Fairbanks Alaska Real Estate Specialists, 907-328-9328

Lisa.... I gave up hope for R.com eons ago.  I like some aspects of the new design, but this is just another in a long list of areas in which they've dropped the ball... in my not so humble opinion of course. :)

Oct 31, 2008 02:40 PM #31
Rainmaker
371,441
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Jesse, LOL!  To me, the site is all form and no substance - unless you want advertisements, of course.

Oct 31, 2008 03:19 PM #32
Rainer
1,835
Deanna Rivetti
Keller Williams VIP Properties - Valencia, CA

Lisa,

I like what you have to say. I think that the best site out there for information is the new website www.cyberhomes.com. They are the reak estate website for Fidenlity National Financial. Realtor.com used to power the information on aol.com for real estate and now CYBERHOMES took it over! You are familiar with SEO sp wehn you go to house values then your city then cyberhomes is the first on the list! It is an informational site for potential buyers/sellers rather than listing based like realtor.com. It has up to date information that is gathered directly from the MLS. If you haven't seen it check it out! I like the honesty in your blog!! Thanks for sharing.  :)

Deanna

Oct 31, 2008 03:41 PM #33
Rainmaker
371,441
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Deanna, sorry, but I have to disagree with you.  I took a look at the cyberhomes site and in my zip code, it is showing 126 active listings.  Funny, my MLS shows 239 active listings.  Once again, you can't count on these national aggregators to give you ALL of the information - that's what a local agent is for.  Do you perhaps have a relationship with this site and that's why you are excited about them?

Oct 31, 2008 03:51 PM #34
Rainer
56,106
Aloysius Donohue
Keller Williams Realty - Ridgewood, NJ
Ridgewood Real Estate

Lisa - If I were selling a West Bank Home I would defnitley call you to find out what it was worth.

Oct 31, 2008 06:28 PM #35
Rainmaker
391,037
Elizabeth Cooper-Golden
Huntsville Alabama Real Estate, (@ Homes Realty Group) - Huntsville, AL
Huntsville AL MLS

Lisa, R.com is the pits, isn't it?  We would certainly think that NAR could do a much better job, right? Such a disappointment.  I gave up hope on R.Com months ago.  Nice post and if I were searching for a Realtor in your area,  you'd get a call from me!  oops...just noticed the comment above me just said the same.....see, must be true!

Oct 31, 2008 07:33 PM #36
Ambassador
884,211
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

I feel bad for R.com.  The agents didn't want a valuation tool... and they knew that if it wasn't there, that consumers would go elsewhere looking.  And all of the valuation tools suck... so, what to do?

But, your point is absolutely accurate.  WE are where consumers need to go to get accurate data.

Oct 31, 2008 10:15 PM #37
Ambassador
603,996
Roland Woodworth
Keller Williams Realty - Clarksville, TN
Short Sale and Foreclosure Resource- SFR - Clarksv

Lisa... This is stunning.... They are all about the almighty dollar and willing to offer this type information to get it. Now they are using OUR information and SELLING leads to their subscribers

Oct 31, 2008 10:27 PM #38
Rainer
194,096
Elizabeth Nieves
The Elizabeth Nieves Realty Group - Durham, NC
Bilingual Raleigh - Durham North Carolina Real Estate Team

If you are buying or selling your home in the West Bank...call the best agent in the business...Lisa Heindel!

GBU, my friend!!!

Oct 31, 2008 10:56 PM #39
Rainmaker
371,441
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Al, thank you - I know who the Ridgewood expert is as well :)

Elizabeth, thanks!  There are so many issues with R.com and I usually just ignore them, but this new tool is just ridiculous.

Lane, I never thought about that angle.  Yes, consumers want to know what their house is worth.  But allowing a computer model to determine that provides a misleading valuation with so many variables that can throw it out of whack.  If we as an industry were perceived to be real agents of the consumers, they would feel more comfortable just picking up the phone and asking directly.

Roland, that's a whole 'nother issue!! :)

Elizabeth, LOL...thanks my friend!

Nov 01, 2008 12:46 PM #40
Anonymous
Anonymous

Hi Lisa,
I agree, it is a disappointment and it is totally unfair to the Consumer who goes there looking for accurate and dependable information.

Nov 01, 2008 08:43 PM #41
Rainmaker
437,367
JL Boney, III
Russell and Jeffcoat - Columbia, SC
Columbia, SC Real Estate

Well, it's not the first site to give troublesome advice, just one of the latest. Congrats on the gold star.

Nov 02, 2008 09:54 PM #42
Ambassador
884,211
Lane Bailey
Century 21 Results Realty - Suwanee, GA
Realtor & Car Guy

Lisa - I think that the worry is that we are going to go medieval on them... apply pressure and be generally annoying.  The automated and anonymous model is attractive for that reason. 

I think the best question that we can ask is how we can work with that reality... both to change it and to make it better.

Nov 02, 2008 10:56 PM #43
Rainmaker
371,441
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Cynthia, that's why it's up to us to let the consumer know where the find the most accurate information - it will never be an online valuator.

JL, thanks!

Lane, excellent comment.  You are right - people do want something anonymous, which is why I don't have sign up/lead forms on my site to search homes for sale.  If they want more information or to sign up for new listings, they willingly provide their names and I try VERY hard to only send information that I think would be useful.  I stopped all of my drip campaigns because I put myself on the list and it annoyed ME - I can't imagine how quickly the consumer deleted them.

Nov 03, 2008 08:02 AM #44
Ambassador
502,661
Donna Bigda
RE/MAX Alliance - Branford, CT
Greater New Haven CT Real Estate

Lisa - I hadn't had a chance to check out the "new" Realtor.com and like a lot of other commenters here am very disappointed in their display of this data.  They keep taking the consumer away from the REALTORS who are the professionals yet telemarket us constantly to sign up and PAY for their newest and greatest features.  Makes no sense to me at all.  Congrats on the feature post! :-)

Nov 05, 2008 10:30 PM #45
Rainmaker
371,441
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Donna, we won't even get into how they charge agents to advertise the listings that are provided to them FREE by our MLS boards!

Nov 06, 2008 01:04 PM #46
Rainmaker
986,094
Georgie Hunter
Hawai'i Life Real Estate Brokers - Haiku, HI
Maui Real Estate sales and lifestyle info

That's really interesting - I always thought sales data was public record.  That's makes your job more valuable.

Nov 06, 2008 09:44 PM #47
Rainmaker
371,441
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Georgina, I'm not sure where they are getting info from - our tax assessor data is public, but they don't make it easy for people to get the information without going and searching for a specific property manually.  The end result is the same though - buyers AND sellers need a local expert who knows the neighborhoods, not a computer system that doesn't.

Nov 07, 2008 12:04 PM #48
Rainmaker
175,303
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI

Excellent post Lisa.  A consumer facing real estate site that is supposed to be advocating the use of professional REALTORS should do a better job than this......OR how about,

Leaving it to the local professionals:-)

Nov 08, 2008 05:28 PM #49
Rainmaker
371,441
Lisa Heindel
Crescent City Living LLC - New Orleans, LA
New Orleans Real Estate Broker

Rebecca, thanks for stopping in.  I'd love to know your opinion from a consumer's perspective of the site (if you've seen it) - would those disclaimers and ** be obvious to you, or would you only focus on the search results?

Nov 08, 2008 05:51 PM #50
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Rainmaker
371,441

Lisa Heindel

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