Real Estate Agent vs. Trulia and All Other Online Home Hunting Websites


By Melissa Calder
Two of the members of the Real Estate Around Philly team are currently in the middle of their search for their first home. After working with real estate professional Jen Colahan first-hand on Real Estate Around Philly, it was an easy decision for them to want to use Jen as their realtor. The following blog series is a first hand story about searching for their  perfect first home.

In this day and age of instant access of information online, I was kind of a sucker for Trulia when I started my home buying search. Anyone who has been on the site for a few hours can quickly be swayed into thinking “Who needs a realtor anymore when we have Trulia?”
Looking back now, I realize that this thought was insane, and I may have been swayed because I previously won a Trulia funniest caption contest on Facebook.

Here are 4 Reasons Why your Realtor Trumps Trulia
1. Turns out, while Trulia is highly entertaining with their caption contests and their interactive app, it isn’t always the most accurate search tool. I can’t tell you how many properties I sent to my realtor to set up a viewing and it was pending sale, sold a year ago, or just not on the market anymore. This was highly frustrating. Falling in love with a house online is easy but breaking up with it when your realtor says it is not available is so hard.

2. Some listings are so new they are not even on sites like Trulia yet. Although, we looked at a lot of properties both online and in person, the house that we ended up putting a bid on was sent to us from our realtor Jen Colahan through the customized trend emails that she set up for us. For the most part these emails had the most up to date information. If you get a good realtor like Jen, then you will know within a few hours, maybe even minutes if a house is still up for sale and viewing after that original trend email hits your inbox.

3. A realtor’s first-hand experience is key. When you get to the bidding process, home inspections, or negotiating you will want a trusted real estate agent by your side, not a flashy national website. You need to have that person that has the inside information.

4. Try having Trulia respond to your questions via text or email. The home buying experience for a first-time homebuyer or anyone for that matter, can be a bit stressful. When you have an urgent question that you want answered you have two choices. Use Google and find some iffy information that might not apply, or contact your realtor directly with the question or problem.

All in all, Trulia, Zillow, and are all fun sites that are good for getting an idea of what type of house you can afford, what type of style of house you desire, and what type of houses are available in your goal neighborhoods. However, you won’t know what is really available until you work with a realtor.

Are you thinking about putting your home on the market or just interested in talking to a real estate professional for some advice? Achieve your real estate goals with agent Jen Colahan. Are you unsure if you will qualify as a buyer and need to talk to a seasoned real estate veteran who won’t pressure you into making a move before you are ready? Fill out THIS FORM (CLICK HERE) and Jen will be in touch with you shortly. Remember, Jen Colahan does not just serve the city of Philadelphia. If you take a look at Featured Areas tab of the site navigation you will see some of the many areas where Jen helps clients buy and sell including but not limited to areas of Philadelphia, Montgomery, Bucks and Delaware Counties.