Back in the “old days”, before cell phones and graphic interfaces, if you wanted information about a house for sale you HAD to call a real estate agent and the call would go something like this…

Agent: Hello, ABC realty, how can I help you?

Caller: I just want to know the price of the house at 123 main st, how much is it?

Agent: Hang on a minute while I grab the file.  (we all know they already knew the price, that was just a gimmick so they could say this…)

Agent: I have it, My name is Joe Agent, what’s your name?

I hate stupid tricks like that.  They knew the price, they just wanted a way to ask for your name!

And then when you gave it to them they would ask…

Agent:  Hi Sally, what’s your phone number in case we get disconnected?

Seriously?  Is your phone system that cheap?  You expect to lose the connection?  Well, Joe Agent, if we get disconnected I will call you back if I want to!

I admit that sometimes I wish cell phones hadn’t been invented so I could go fishing in peace with my kids but I don’t miss all the sale crap and high pressure tricks just so some agent could get my phone number.

Now comes the internet to the rescue!  But I have news for you…  They still want your info. only now they are sneaky about it.

What you have to know is that most of the real estate search engines, I take that back, ALL of the search engines, make their money by selling your contact info to various real estate agents.  NEVER forget that. Most of them have outdated and inaccurate house listing information.

From their perspective, that’s not a problem.  The more houses they have on their websites, the more likely they are to convince you to give them your info.  By law, they have to tell you who the listing agent is. Maybe not actually law, but the agreements they make in order to get the house info.  If you look at a listing on you will see a a list of agents, like the one in this screen shot.

zillow screen shot

It shows the listing agent, like in my case, it is greyed out, no photo, no rating.  Then you will see the next agent, a “Premier Agent”.  Color photo, 5 stars, etc.  What make an agent a “Premier Agent”?  I have one word for you…  Moolah! Cash, or actually probably a credit card.

Does that mean you should call the Premier Agent?  Hell NO!  I would be willing to bet that those agents listed have never even been down CR 700E in Tipton County.

Does that mean you should call the listing agent?  Once again, NO!  You should call an agent that you trust.  If you don’t know the listing agent don’t call them either.  You are dealing with a lot of money, I wouldn’t recommend you call a random agent. Period.

Next Question.  Does that mean you shouldn’t use those search engines?

No.  I use them myself.

But…  You have to take everything you get from them with a grain of salt and remember what they are in business to do.  MAKE MONEY by selling your name and number and email to agents that pay them for that info.

DO NOT get excited just because you found your perfect dream home.  It may or may not actually be for sale anymore.  It may have sold 6 months ago and they just left it on the website to entice you to give them your info.

Don’t be suckered in.  search all you want, but don’t give them your info unless you want to be contacted by random agents that don’t know you from Adam.

If you want one page that has all the major search engines in one spot, go here. This has all the major searches and also info like the sex offender list, school info, etc.

The reason I use them is quite honestly, some of them have better technology than most real estate agents.  I find the info on there so it’s easier, then I verify it.  Unfortunately, you can’t verify like I can.  Maybe one day, but not yet.  I remember the first real estate office that I worked for, I set up the computer for them.  It was a 286 with a daisy wheel printer.  Ya, I know, that just told you how old I am.

Bottom Line.  Find an agent that you trust. Search on whatever search engine you like, then call your agent.