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According to the 2020 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, 51% of buyers found the home they purchased on the internet. To put this in perspective, only 28% found the home they bought through their realtor, and 7% from a yard sign.
Real estate websites are attracting so many eyeballs every month because they are adding value for both buyers and sellers. Buyers can preview hundreds of homes within a few hours from the comfort of their couch. Home sellers win, too; their home’s features and pictures are viewed by hundreds of shoppers in the market to buy a new home.
We reviewed 18 real estate sites based on the ease and performance of their search functions, the support features they offer, and their costs. Buying and selling a home can feel overwhelming without wondering which website to use. To give you a head start on your journey, we’ve selected the best real estate websites for your needs.
The 7 Best Real Estate Websites of 2022
- Best Overall:Zillow
- Most Accurate:Realtor.com
- Best Mobile App:Trulia
- Best for Foreclosures:Foreclosure.com
- Best for Renting:Apartments.com
- Best for “For Sale By Owner”:FSBO.com
- Best for Heroes:Homes for Heroes
- Homes for Heroes
Best Overall : Zillow
Founded in 2006 by two former Microsoft executives, Zillow offers the most robust suite of tools for buyers, sellers, landlords, renters, agents, and other home professionals. Zillows power and flexibility make it the best overall real estate website in our review.
Largest database of over 135 million properties
Extensive criteria sorting
Links to get pre-qualified financing
Volumes of “how-to” guides about home buying and selling
A suite of mobile apps so you can do your research anywhere
Their proprietary Zestimate® algorithm is only as good as the information loaded into the database
Realtors and lenders pay for leads on the site; if you don’t want to engage with agents, be careful about filling out on-site forms
Aside from the listing agent, the other agents listed on the property record may not know anything about the home
Zillow has one of the most downloaded apps in both Android and Apple platforms. In Google Play, it has over 10 million downloads and has a rating of 4.4 stars out of 5 by more than 500,000 users. In the Apple Store, 5.5 million people have given the app an overall rating of 4.8 stars out of 5.
The primary Zillow app lets you search for homes and apartments, list yours for sale or rent, tour the home through pictures and videos when available, connect with agents and lenders, save your searches, and receive push notifications of updates to your search criteria.
Zillow sources postings from both the MLS, or multiple listing services, and non-MLS sources. Non-MLS sources include for sale by owner, non-MLS foreclosures, and auctions.
In short, Zillow is free to buyers and sellers and instead makes its money by charging advertising fees to agents, lenders, and other home service providers. It is a source to drive leads to the advertisers.
Most Accurate : Realtor.com
Affiliated with the National Association of Realtors and linked to over 580 regional Multiple Listing Services, Realtor.com listings are the closest to the gold standard, the MLS, which is updated regularly by realtors. For this reason, Realtor.com is our pick for most accurate real estate website.
Database includes 99% of all MLS-listed properties
Easy to search all listed homes in a school district
Links to get pre-qualified financing and financial calculators buyers
Robust “find a realtor” feature
No option to search “for sale by owner” listings
No option for home sellers to list their property for sale
Realtor.com launched in 1996 and is now operated by Move, Inc., a subsidiary of News Corporation (NWS). The app has around 265,000 reviews in the Google Play store that give it an average rating of 4.5 stars. In the Apple Store, around 280,000 reviews averaged 4.7 stars.
The app allows you to search for homes, view pictures and video tours, compare neighborhood criteria like noise levels, and updates all its listings in real-time. Draw a shape with your fingertip on the app map and see only the properties within that geographic shape. Users can contact realtors and run financial calculators through the app, too.
The app and website are free to buyers and renters.
Best Mobile App : Trulia
Founded in 2005 Trulia has created a website and mobile app that excel at transparency. Since home buyers and renters do so much of their searching using their mobile device, the fact that Trulia’s app is powerful, simple, and easy to use makes it our choice for best mobile app.
Hearty “local info” available on website and app
Personalized alerts for your criteria
Links to get pre-qualified financing and financial calculators in the app
Fine-tune your geographic search by drawing a loop with your finger on the map
Tutorial guides teach you how to maximize your app experience as you use it
Need to sign in or register to save your search criteria
No option for home sellers to list their property for sale
Trulia’s app has over 208,000 reviews on the Android platform that give it an average rating of 4.5 stars. In the Apple Store, more than 1 million users voted to give it an average rating of 4.8 stars. While you can search for both homes for sale and rental apartments in the main Trulia website, Trulia split these niches into two mobile apps, Trulia Real Estate: Find Homes and Trulia Renters for enhanced focus for renters.
Trulia, purchased by Zillow for $2.5 billion in 2015, has the power of the largest real estate website behind it. It typically updates listing information within 24 hours. As good as the app is, the accuracy of the data is still only as good as what goes into it.
Some of the features people like most about the app are its multiple map views for each property. For example, you can view the property plotted on a map that shows area crime, places to shop and eat, schools, and commute time.
Trulia is the darling for people who want to really understand their potential neighborhood and not just the home and what’s inside. There are even neighborhood reviews by people who live where you’re searching, telling you what they like and don’t like about the area.
The app is free for users.
Best for Foreclosures : Foreclosure.com
There are several real estate websites dedicated to foreclosures but Foreclosure.com has the best mix of search criteria, sorting, quantity of listings, and perhaps most importantly with this complex process, education. For these reasons and more, Foreclosure.com is our best website for foreclosures.
How-to articles, tutorial videos, and checklists on the process of purchasing a foreclosure
More than 750,000 foreclosure, pre-foreclosure, bankruptcy, and tax lien listings nationwide
Search criteria include shadow inventory, sheriff sales, rent-to-own, city-owned properties, and more
The Document Center contains links for title search on a property and other required forms
7-day free trial period requires a credit card to sign up
Monthly fee is $39.80
The app is poorly rated because it does not update as frequently as the website
Foreclosure.com was founded in 1999 by a team of real estate professionals and software developers who wanted to create a one-stop shop for people seeking to buy properties in the foreclosure process. Their data is updated daily directly from the tax rolls, government agencies, and notices of the lenders’ legal actions.
The Apple app has less than 50 user ratings, and the average rating is 1.5 stars out of five. It fares slightly better in the Google Play store with nearly 400 ratings averaging 2.6 stars. The app is free to use, but its full features are reserved for people who have paid the monthly subscription fee for the website.
If you think buying a home that’s not in foreclosure can be a little confusing, buying a foreclosure comes with its own set of rules that frighten many people away. At Foreclosure.com, they understand that it’s complicated and therefore have put a lot of their focus into the tutorial videos, articles, and checklists on the website to walk people through the process of finding a home at a discount. The downloadable documents and links to state-specific laws help steer buyers in the right direction.
As you become familiar with the process, you can search and sort for homes in specific phases of foreclosure. For example, you can search for specific property situations such as sheriff sales and tax liens. Another unique feature is the ability to search for homes listed as “Rent-to-Own.”
While there is a monthly fee of $39.80, subscribers pay it because they see the chance to buy a home that could potentially save them tens of thousands of dollars, far more than the cost of the subscription.