Most home buyers "ask Google" to help them find homes online. From those results, people pick from whatever pops up in a search. But, most people really don't know where to find homes online. They think that the websites with the most pictures, some Q&As, is the best place to look. Unfortunately, that's hardly true.
Websites that have homes from all over the country (and world) pull data from many sources. Some good, some not so good. They're what are called "aggregators"-- putting together lots of data from everywhere, with much of it not of much use, outdated, or just plain unreliable. But those websites look busy with a lot of activity, so people are attracted to them. It can be maddening when information is incomplete, or just plain wrong. Most importantly much of the data needs refinement, and that refinement can only be done by Realtors who are "on the ground" in that market.
These websites also charge real estate agents hefty fees to be "featured". It is "pay to play". But what does that mean? Did the website choose the agents who appear on the website? No. Those are paid advertisements with no relation to actual experience or professionalism of the agent. So that begs the question, "Who are you actually contacting?" You really don't know. You also will more than likely hear from several unknown agents who have paid the website for your information to follow up on. Who are they? You really don't know. Are they best suited for the work you need them to do?
Your best bet, no matter where in the world you are, is to utilize local agents' websites. The agents who have made an investment in presenting themselves to you, giving you a good idea of who they are and what they do is vitally more important than just looking for homes. Agents who will personally vet, refine, and send you listings according to your preferences, give you market insight, help you find other necessary resources in that market are where you want to be.
We understand that many consumers are fearful of contacting a REAL agent, and would rather push a submit button on a big real estate website. Will an agent hound them? Call them, pester them? That's their concern. Some agents will become pests; some will just work with consumers gently, at their own pace, like we do. And SURPRISE we get it. Even as real estate agents, we're bombarded with calls, emails, texts, voicemails, videos, ads, from aligned businesses! We get recipes, gardening tips, market reports, offers, mortgage news, handy-dandy tips for agents constantly. Welcome to the world of automation and tech.
Bottom line for online home searches: Use local agents' websites that rank high on Google and offer you more than just a list of homes. They're your best choice!