If you, or your friend, is interested in buying a particular type of house -- especially one that isn't a common, development-style -- you owe it to yourself to hire a buyer's agent to work on your behalf. Professional agents check available inventory of homes several times a day. While many houses for sale EVENTUALLY show up on websites that are available to the public, it is not real-time. Because public sites draw from many sources, you are often at the mercy of what we used to call batch processing. Information may only be fed to the site you are looking at once a day (or once a week).
I encourage buyers I represent to email me whenever they see something on a public site that interests them. Yesterday, a client inquired about 3 properties that appeared on public sites to be available. Two of the three were under contract.
REALTORS also often know about properties that aren't listed yet (and buyers who aren't quite ready to buy.) It doesn't happen often, but I've certainly been able to put deals together from that knowledge.
Joan Prout, MBA
RE/MAX Villa REALTORS
306 Grove Street
Jersey City, NJ 07302
800-671-0596 x1 (direct)