How will this effect you? Zillow is apparently going to buy out it's main competitor, Trulia.
Bigger isn't always better, unless we are talking about a bank account. Zillow is very big and offers some really good tools for you as a consumer. There is one thing, however, and that is accuracy. To me, as a practicing Realtor® in the Hot Springs market, accuracy is king. As with any "data", it is only as good and accurate as the agent or robot that is entering it into the real estate worldwide portal. When you deal with real estate (and we are talking about homes for sale in the Hot Springs, Arkansas area), as an agent.... Zillow and trulia are sometimes headaches. Neither of them has a direct feed from the multiple listing service per se. What they do is "scrape" data from a multitude of sites that provide data by internet syndication. Often, the syndication does not include when a property sells, or just as importantly, WHAT it sold for. That is good data for a buyer.
I have had numerous people call me, because I used to buy some pretty expensive advertising on zillow and ask me about a property (That was good...it was what I was paying them for ). It is sometimes hard to define who the listing agent is, so they would call me because my ad was bigger. Did I have encyclopedic knowledge of the property??? No (There are over 2,400 active listings at this moment in the Hot Springs Board of Realtors® multilist and I just can't seem to memorize them every day). Could I find detailed info on a listing that was not "mine"? Certainly (it is why I pay big bucks for to be a member of the multiple listing service), but it takes a little bit of time. My point is that numerous times, the prospective buyer would have a request about info on a property that had sometimes SOLD a couple of months previously. This did not help that person.
When this happens, the prospective buyer is dissappointed. Who does he/she blame??? Not necessarily ZILLOW because everything that is out there on the internet is correct, right?? No, the buyer blames the agent he or she is talking to, regardless of whether that agent has anything to do with that particular listing and its data entry or not. So should you use Zillow and Trulia? Sure, they are very good real estate sites with a lot of information... but if you are looking for a home in the Hot Springs area, I would pay skeptical attention (on zillow, trulia and others) to the average home price listed, and for certain the school district that is mentioned. School districts are a very important point in many home buying decisions for people (But do NOT ask your agent to recommend one school district over another because it is a fair housing violation for the agent to do so). Zillow and trulia will often find the CLOSEST school to the property... this does not mean that a certain property you find there is actually inside that particular school district.
You typically will find more accurate data on realtor.com than you will on the other big-box sites. But the most accurate data will be at your agent's fingertips, whether it is Bill Saunders or someone else in the Hot Springs area that is a Realtor® and on the Board of Realtors® multiple listing service.
Hope you have a great Monday :)