As has been mentioned many of the syndicators do not have up to date information on the homes. People see a foreclosure at $250,000 and don't realize that is not the whole story. There are homes that have been put into pending or contingent and still show up on many sites.
The best way is to try to convince them to meet with an agent, get pre-approved and then start searching either with the agent or on the agent's website which should be up to date. I am sure you have seen many repeat buyers asking questions about homes that are off the market. This must frustrate them. If they were working with a live agent, their frustration level would be much lower.
You can't help someone if they won't communicate with you.
Marcie Sands, REALTOR
Simply The Best Real Estate Co., Inc.
I think there are two problems here. First is that buyers need to make an active move to actually meet and interview agents who they meet. It doesn't matter how they get an agent's name or number; online, at open houses or various means of advertising. If the buyer makes some attempt to let an agent know they are there and actively looking (not hidden behind pseudonyms on various web portals), then an agent knows they are probably more serious.
The second issue is that the online syndicators (yes even Trulia is lumped in here by me...), don't immediately update the true status of properties once it has sold or has been removed from the marketplace. The consumers out there have to get burned a few times before they learn to not trust all the "data" from the syndicators.
If a buyer is lurking out there and finds an unavailable property, they are missing the boat and it's their fault. They need to become active with a live agent who will guide them through the process and find them a home that is truly available and fits their needs.
I tell it like it is...
Realty Executives Advantage
As much as we hate to admit it, buying a home has many similarities to buying a car and part of consumer's car buying process is going to the showrooms and just poking around. They don't want to be pushed by a hard selling sales person.
Shopping online allows them to "go to the showroom" without having to put up with someone they aren't comfortable with talking at them.
In the end, the answer to your question is about us developing relationships with people and being their go to person for real estate related questions and issues when they are not in the market, so that when they do decide to buy you are who they call or refer their friends to.
CA DRE 01775528