I don't like to refer them to any other site because:
1. Sometimes the agents don't update the status
2. Many sites are affiliated with other realty offices (such as Redfin, Ziprealty)....and I prefer to keep my clients.
My lender from Bank of America signed me up for Home Buyer Marketing Scouting Report http://www.hbm1.com/. When buyers log in, they can get all kinds of good info --- and the "frame" shows my name as the agent, and my BOA rep as the lender.
See sample "splash" report
We've had clients who came up with all kinds of weird websites - people who are serious use the MLS.
More importantly however is to have a knowledgeable, reputable, and experienced agent/broker helping frame their search with regards to that particular client's timelines, needs, and goals.
Lance King/Owner-Managing Broker
If a consumer is looking for an agent by way of Trulia, which isn't a bad idea at all, I would say, look at our resumes on Trulia, and look for activity on Trulia--what is the knowledge level of the agent you are looking at. Look at their profile and what they say, but I think the Q & A and Blogs would give any potential consumer a pretty accurate picture of committment to real estate.
I have sold homes to consumers who were reading my answers on Trulia and hired me specifically because of the quality of answers and blogs I have posted on this site. Trulia is a great way to evaluate a realtor with all the information we put here. In my case, my buyers have been pleased with my services and we have become friends.
Myke Triebold, GRI, LMC
It keeps me on the same page with them. As for people who start, they seem to start by searching willy-nilly with any and every site they can find.
It doesn't always produce the best results which is why once I get a buyer who is ready to work with me. I condition them to search the MLS and nothing else.
I don't know if that answers everything in the way you're looking, but its my thought on the topic.
Enjoy the sunshine!!!!
What I found best is to meet with the new homebuyers and use my computer, together with theirs, to surf the net in search of properties and information. As they mirror my search tips, they become familiar and at the same time, create a browsing history on their computer. They bookmark sites they find useful and have all their questions answered in real time. This usually puts them on the right path.
I hope you find my method useful.
Broker Associate - DRE 1844627
Paragon Real Estate Group | 1160 Battery St | San Francisco, CA 94111