There are many great, visually appealing real estate sites out there and as a Realtor I get links from them all as my clients find interesting options and send me showing requests. Most of these sites feed directly from MLS, which is sort of a mothership database for several states including Massachusetts, where all new listings get input by agents unless their seller clients don’t want to be online (beyond rare!). Agents pay a quarterly subscription fee to be on MLS and can sign up an unlimited amount of clients to receive daily property matches based on chosen criteria.
I prefer to have all my clients directly subscribed to MLS because that’s where the information is most up to date, easy to read and accurate. For example, it may take 10 hours for information on MLS to sync up to another site feeding from it. Different sites have different update cycles and especially in this competitive market, you wouldn’t want to be in the dark about that under agreement property you liked so much that apparently just came back to market. 10 hours could be very valuable time to crunch numbers, consult with your Realtor and mortgage specialist, book a showing and discuss pros and cons with family & friends. It could be a brand new listing that is a great match and could be seen before open house on the weekend that you get to find out about right away vs. 10-24hrs later depending on a site you’re registered on. Also, when you’re going through available properties to request a showing, a lot of times you may not realize that certain properties are already under agreement because it’s far from obvious, if at all indicated, on sites like Zillow / Trulia etc.
So my general advice is, at a minimum subscribe directly to MLS and feel free to get on any other sites / apps you like as well because at least when you identify a property on those other sites you’d be able to quickly look it up on MLS (by address or MLS ID #) and make sure that’s it’s a current listing available to be seen.