When I first set out to build a real estate website, my first thought was ‘I need to have a great real estate search engine.’ After browsing other realtors websites in both the Seattle area and throughout the country, I realized that most sites did not have a search feature. The realtor website search engines that I did come across were hard to use, out of date, or flat out did not work. The conclusion that I came to was maintaining a website with a superior real estate search engine would be a full time job on its own. I then set out to find the best search engine for both my clients and myself to monitor the market. Realtors have access to the Northwest MLS website which is the source of all listings. While the NWMLS website is a great resource for professionals, it does not have the features and quality that some large real estate tech companies have. For instance, Zillow has become one of the go to websites for researching a home. Their picture quality and real estate data is unmatched by its competitors. That being said, Zillow has its shortfalls when it comes to searching for current listings. They list a large number of off market listings such as future short sale listings (sometimes as far out as 12 months from being offered for sale) and ‘make me move’ listings. In addition to that, Zillow does not currently have an agreement with the NWMLS to use their data, therefore they rely on realtors to update their own listings when they are listed for sale, or go pending. This leads to frustration from home seekers that get their hopes up regarding a listing that they eventually find out has already sold (or has been removed from the market). For those reasons, I refer my clients to Redfin to search for current listings. Other than the NWMLS’s own website, Redfin is the most current search engine for the Seattle area market in terms of active listings. They have great picture quality and most of the real estate data that the NWMLS website offers. While redfin is great for searching for homes, their shortfall is their service. Their current structure passes a home buyer from agent to agent to agent for each part of the home buying process. When I am making a large purchase/investment in a home, I want to speak with 1 person throughout the entire process. In 2016, customer service has taken a backseat to technology. That is why I strive to provide the best customer service first, and technology tips and resources second. Anyone can use Redfin’s search engine, but Redfin cannot provide the customer service experience that I do for my clients. I encourage my clients to search on Redfin and call/text/email me with questions or to see homes in person. Happy searching!