Who should we believe, Trulia or another RE agent?

Asked by Mk, Palo Alto, CA Tue Jan 13, 2009

For the sale summary for Palo Alto, Dec. 2008

Trulia gave:
Median Sales Price $1,040,000 18.2% y-o-y
Average price/sqft $901 16.3% y-o-y
Number of Sales 23 -72.3%

Another RE agent gave:
Trends At a Glance Dec 2008 Year-over Year
Median Price $1,365,000 $1,900,000 (-28.2%)
Average Price $1,429,360 $2,179,170 (-34.4%)
Active 63 25 ( 152.0%)

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Answers

10
Kathleen Sha…, Agent, Gilroy, CA
Wed Jan 14, 2009
Mk,
Have to support my fellow Realtors. The websites are not updated with pending and sold data as accurately as the actual MLS. Please use a licensed Realtor to get the true scoop
0 votes
Steven Ornel…, Agent, Fremont, CA
Wed Jan 14, 2009
Hi Mk, I would go with the "RE Agent", but I have a few caveats:

"Apples to Apples..."
If you are trying to place your finger on the pulse of an area I advise my clients to research a subset of the market by specifying search criteria matching either their existing home (if selling) or their "target Home" (if purchasing). This way, the data that is uncovered is individually meaningful.

A Comparative Market Analysis gives you the best representation of market activity/direction - for the specific property details you search on (isn't this what you really want?). I personally feel median and average-based information is great for trying to appear well informed at parties on a macro level, but in my opinion these measures are meaningless for targeted selling/purchasing and advising a client. Given that a “median” is defined as “the number separating the higher half of a sample from the lower half”, this measure, as well as Average-based measures, have no regard for any of the specifics you may be searching for and can be skewed by segments of market activity that do not match your individual situation. If you need useful and actionable information, identify a Realtor to work with and start drilling down into the specifics of your target criteria/area via the use of Comparative Market Analysis reports.

“Yes, No, Maybe..”
In regards to Trulia, Trulia has negotiated direct-feed agreements with many Assoc. of Realtor MLS systems. Barring this agreement, Realtors may elect to manually load listing info (not all do). Some Realtors who do load data on Trulia remove the listing once sold, and others do change the status to sold when a purchase has been completed. While Realtor.com loads ALL listings from ALL Assoc. of Realtors MLS systems automatically, once a property goes to "pending" it will not show. In a nutshell, your best source for up-to-the-minute information is a Realtor.

Best Regards, Steve
0 votes
Arn Cenedella, Agent, Greenville, SC
Wed Jan 14, 2009
MK
you are welcome....
good points below....
i also wonder if trulia does there #s by zip code?????
if so 94303 contains are in BOTH east palo alto and palo alto.
i am confident with the mls data.
Arn
0 votes
David Tapper, Agent, Burlingame, CA
Tue Jan 13, 2009
Mk, sometimes when you look at numbers they aren't always what they appear. If you are trying to get as much knowledge about the market prior to purchasing a home, you need to break down your numbers to specific areas of Palo Alto, not the whole city.

It's in your best interest to get a local agent who knows the area well and is very knowledgeable. If you need a referral, let me know.

Dave Tapper
Realtor
Cashin Company
http://www.Davidtapper.com
Web Reference:  http://www.Davidtapper.com
0 votes
Roland Barcos, Agent, San Jose, CA
Tue Jan 13, 2009
Hi Mk,
As a Realtor, I have to say that there is no online resource as knowledgable as a local real estate expert. Whether it's Trulia, or Zillow, or any of the online data mongers, their interpretation is based on generic algorithms that produce finite numbers that may have very little relation to factual reality for your specific needs.
There's a clear analogy that comes to mind: when people start believing that Online Football is the ultimate truth and those games played on Sunday by guys in stadiums is trivial, we're all in trouble.
As for the data that you present, I agree with others that there is probably some discrepemcy between the time frame and the geographic area in these two examples. My question to you is, what is it that you are really trying to find out and how can we help you make use of the information?

Take care,
Roland
0 votes
Marcy Moyer, Agent, San Ramon, CA
Tue Jan 13, 2009
Did Trulia include condos or just single family homes? If they included condos that may account for the difference.

Marcy
0 votes
Mk, Home Buyer, Palo Alto, CA
Tue Jan 13, 2009
Arn,

From your answer, for the December sale in Palo Alto, actually the agent is right and Trulia is wrong? Thanks, MK

"now if you are talking Dec 07 to Dec 08 just for the month of December here is the same data:

Dec 2007
11 closed sales
$2,264,090 average price
$2,100,000 median price

Dec 2008
22 closed sales
$1,429,363 average price
$1,365,000 median price "
0 votes
Glen Mitchell, Agent, Half Moon Bay, CA
Tue Jan 13, 2009
I was just getting ready to post and saw Arns answer. I see the same info he added, but the agent and Trulia may be refering to different periods or time frames. What exactly are you trying to do and we can provide better answers.

Glen
Web Reference:  http://www.maui4rent.com
0 votes
Arn Cenedella, Agent, Greenville, SC
Tue Jan 13, 2009
MK
Statistics can be confusing when people do not specifically identify what stat they are quoting.
Per the MLS
for the entire year of 2007
463 closed sales
$1,872,850 average price
$1,555,000 median price
for the entire year of 2008
356 closed sales
$1,760,925 average price
$1,550,000 median price

this is the accurate MLS data.

now if you are talking Dec 07 to Dec 08 just for the month of December here is the same data:

Dec 2007
11 closed sales
$2,264,090 average price
$2,100,000 median price

Dec 2008
22 closed sales
$1,429,363 average price
$1,365,000 median price

what data specifically are you looking for???

the data above is for the entire city of palo alto per mls - it may not include off-market and fsbo sales.

and you should not be working with an agent you do not trust - that is crazy!

Arn
0 votes
The Hagley G…, Agent, Pleasanton, CA
Tue Jan 13, 2009
Are you comparing apples to apples? Make sure the agent is using the same stats...are both using a specific zip code? Specific price range? I suspect that's where the problem may be.
Web Reference:  http://www.cindihagley.com
0 votes
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