You've asked several questions.
First, which information is more reliable, the local board of realtors managed MLS, or Trulia. Answer: your local MLS. Trulia is a "good" attempt to get information about home values, but it is not "THE" source of the sold data. In our market, Trulia often shows sold information that is inaccurate, some by quite a bit. It also sometimes lists as sold, properties that are not, and vice versa.
Second, you asked who to believe. I would trust the data coming from my local MLS before I would ever consider trusting a conclusion from Trulia (sorry Trulia).
Third, should you trust your agent. If everything else is going well, and the only reason you ask the question is because of the difference between their data and Trulia, then based on the above, you don't really have any reason not to trust them. If other things are bothering you, that's a different story.
Show the Trulia data to your realtor and ask them to help you understand why the two are so different. If you don't like the answer, find another realtor, but at least give them a chance to help you understand the discrepancies.
Given a choice between Trulia stats and MLS stats, I'd be more inclined to believe the MLS stats. But don't "believe" either of them. Compare, and check them out.
Also--not picking on you--but I'm getting increasingly irritated with these precise calculations of cost per square foot. Look: That number is useful to builders in constructing houses. It's useful if you're putting on an addition to your home. But it's really not as important when buying or selling. Cost per square foot doesn't address condition. It doesn't address upgrades. It doesn't really address lot size. It doesn't address proximity to highway traffic or noise. It doesn't address the cars up on blocks across the street. It doesn't address the seller's degree of motivation. Sure, each of those elements will have some effect on the value of a specific property...and that's what you should be looking at. Not an overall, averaged figure that has more relevance to construction than to living.
Your offer on any property should take all those elements into consideration as they apply to the specific property you're making an offer on. So, if the house is older, needs upgrades, and the seller is motivated, then your offer should be lower. If the house has been completely rehabbed, it's on a large and nicely landscaped lot, and is close to schools and shopping, you might end up offering (or paying) more than for that older house in need of upgrades.
So: Talk to your Realtor about the specific questions you have--the apparent disparities between what she presented and what you found. But then recognize the severe limitations that buying a property, basing your price largely on the square foot cost of other proprties, really does have.
Your agent want's your home to sell for fair market value and I would see no advantage for your agent to over price your home. If you are satisfied with $114 a square foot ask your agent to reduce the home and pehaps is will sell quickly.
Short of that - and I am assuming you are looking for a higher value to sell why not employ an appraiser to get their analysis? You can then ask the appraiser why and how as to the values etc.
Maybe you would feel more confident with paying for an appraiser rather than a FREE CMA from an experienced agant?
Either way to 'find the market' and value of your home you will ultimately need to 'get it listed' so the market can indicate if you (and/or your agent or appraiser) are high or low...
Remember it is an objective view that will always diifer between the agent and the seller - sellers ALWAYS think they have the best home and value on the block and buyers ALWAYS think it is a worthless property...
REMEMBER we are in a buyers market here and that last quarter showed Central Pa to have a 7% increase in values acroos the board, experts say we are getting an increase again in this next quarter and that will drive sale prices up...Hope that helps...
I think Jeffrey made some good points. Here are a couple quick points to keep in mind. Trulia's information is based on broker feeds. This means that they rely on brokers agreeing to feed their listings to Trulia. Unless every single broker in the area feeds, the numbers will be inaccurate. WebMD doesn't take the place of a physician's diagnosis and Trulia doesn't take the place of a professional Realtor's analysis. Square footage is very subjective. It's value can only be seriously considered if you are dealing with an exact apples to apples comparison. Factors that have to be taken into account are: age, condition, school district, neighborhood, style, decor, improvements, garage, bedrooms, bathrooms, heating (and age), A/C?, roof age, updated kitchen and bathrooms?....I think you get the point. Don't rely just on price per square foot. You have to dig much deeper. Part of our job is to educate our clients. Ask your Realtor to sit down and explain their numbers to you. If they can't do that then maybe you should move on.
Do you want stats, or do you want help finding a house that fits your needs at a reasonable price? (Or at least as reasonable as possible:-)
Jeffrey gave a good answer. I too have found online search sites less than accurate on numerous occasions. There are so many variable that one can search under, that it is possible to get a wide range of figures depending on which stats are used.
Even in one search engine, there are huge amounts of variables. For example, do you include only statistics for Mechanicsburg area zip code? or Mechanicsburg area schools? or countywide area? Or do you you use a map search, or township? (Mechanicsburg is included in map 'section #6' if you are using the Central Penn MLS section codes, but that also includes CampHill, NewCumberland, Monroe Township, etc)
Do you want stats to include all ages of homes? or only the new homes? or within a 10 year range of yours? Do you think that homes with more acerage should be included or only those that are on city lots? how large of a lot? Single story style only? or all bilevels, 2 story and ........???The list goes on and on....
I trust that your Realtor took a number of factors into consideration in searching out the stats that best fit your situation.
I'm betting that what you really want is not more stats, but the knowledge that you are making a reasonable decision on your real estate transaction. As a Realtor with nearly a quarter of a century of experience serving clients here in the Cumberland Valley, I'm with Jeffrey. Ask for clarification if there is something that you do not understand. A good Realtor who knows your area is a most valuable asset.
Blessings as you find one, and your next house!
Hope that helps
Mim Heisey REALTOR GRI