Are Trulia and Zillow and the Best Place to Search for Santa Barbara CA Real Estate? - NO!!

Santa Barbara Homes for SaleOver the last year I have been in contact with numerous people that have been spending their time searching for Santa Barbara Real Estate on sites such as, and  To me this is understandable since they are all powerhouse sites if you will, have loads of advertising behind them and overall do a pretty OK job for certain things. The problem I have with being a consumer/customer is that these sites represent a sort of Wal-Mart approach...meaning they try and do cover most everything, but not in the greatest depth, detail, expertise and accuracy.  Sure, if you are looking to buy a bicycle you can go into any Wal-Mart and buy a bicycle (I guess...I've never looked), but if you are looking for a very specific bike and true expertise on say the components and what not, most all of us would choose to research the specific bike online from the manufacturers website and also visit your local expert shop that has several knowledgeable riders completely in tune with the gear etc.

So why are many people taking the Wal-Mart approach when looking to make most likely their biggest financial purchase in their life...buying a home? claims that they have over 3,000,000 listings on their site. claims they have over 4,000,000. does not publish this, but I am sure it is a large number. If you are looking to buy real estate here in the Santa Barbara and Montecito CA area, do you really care that, and have on their site over 15,000 homes in Denver, Colorado for sale or north of 12,000 homes for sale in the Seattle, Washington area? you still like the look and feel of these sites, knowing that "others" use them, the random poll on the sidebar, the paid advertisements that blink at you...who knows?  BUT...Are you actually getting out of them what you are ultimately looking for???

  • All the Listings For Sale
  • Information on Past Sales to Draw Comparisons
  • True Local Knowledge about Numerous Topics Relating to your Decision

Let's take a look at the first point...the listings themselves. The local Santa Barbara Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is the only database that will have every home that is listed by all the real estate brokerages in town.  The only way to then access all of this in the Santa Barbara CA area is to be in contact with a Realtor or to use a local IDX from a Realtor's site.  This will then give you the highest chance of seeing all that is out there.  With that said, there are also pocket listings that are constantly available in towns such as Santa Barbara and Montecito as well as great homes (great buys) that do sell before they are even marketed and/or hit the local MLS. Here is a glance at listings available on various sites when you type in "Santa Barbara CA" into the Search Box: (for April 22nd, 2009)

Zillow and Trulia Home Search Santa Barbara CA

The Santa Barbara Real Estate Voice IDX that I have being a member of the local Santa Barbara MLS is a direct data feed from the MLS.  It has also been thoughtfully organized to truly represent the exact areas in our town...very little lumping together and overlapping that often occurs on Zillow etc. (hence 625 homes for sale in "Goleta", when this is just tons of overlapping of Santa Barbara proper). If you don't want to miss upwards of 20-30% of the homes that are listed in our area, not counting pocket listings and upcoming great buys, you should contact a good, ethical, hard-working Realtor. These national listing sites have their own place and I think they do provide consumers with tools and information...all great things.  I am not trying to bash them in any way.  But, if the prices are the same, you will get much more accurate, complete, hands-on information from a local IDX and hardworking Realtor than going at it on your own on a big aggregate site. Regarding point #2 - comparisons of past sales, please feel free to contact me.  Regarding point #3, please visit my site and feel free to contact me regarding any questions or needs.

Further Reading:

  1. Is Zillow's Zestimate a Reliable Guide to your Santa Barbara Home's Value?

For information on Real Estate here in Santa Barbara, Montecito and/or our surrounding areas, as well as any other aspects of life in our area, please don’t hesitate to contact Kevin Schmidtchen at Berkshire Hathaway.

Thank you for reading.  I hope you find Santa Barbara Real Estate Voice informative.  Please feel free to contact me or comment below with any thoughts. 

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