Why Zillow can’t show you every Home for Sale in the Lake Norman area

Beth Sterner
Beth Sterner
Published on May 30, 2017

Did you think Zillow has the most up-to-date real estate listings? Well I am here to tell you that Zillow can’t show you every home or property listed for sale in the local Lake Norman real estate market.


Before I get into the dirty details I want to share a recent client story with you. A client I had been working with for a few weeks just bought a house in the Lake Norman area and got an AMAZING deal! The home needed quite a bit of updating and some repair, but once complete the home will be worth about $100k more than they purchased it for. Sounds too good to be true? You can consider yourself lucky to find a home for sale in the Lake Norman area with this kind of equity.


In today’s real estate market, everyone has access to homes for sale in Lake Norman and surrounding area via the internet. I would be willing to bet around half of the people in the U.S. have the Zillow app (Redin, Trulia, Realtor.com, etc), and many using it daily to search for homes. This means everyone sees the current homes for sale around Lake Norman at the same time, which makes it nearly impossible to get a good deal, like my client, before someone else snatches it up.


Following me so far?   The thing about my client’s deal of a lifetime is the house was under contract BEFORE anyone ever saw it on Zillow or other major real estate sites. You may be wondering how this is possible? Maybe they found it before it was on the market? For sale by owner? Or did they buy from a family member?


The answer to all of these questions is…NO! I informed them of a small detail most people do not know about, which I will explain for you.


Zillow is a great website!

I don’t want anyone reading this to think I am against Zillow by writing this article. Zillow is fun to browse for homes for sale in Lake Norman or anywhere else in the country and they provide incredible content to their visitors. The website is attractive and extremely user friendly.



At any given time, Zillow lacks about 20% of the current listings in the U.S., which is a pretty large number. There are many homes on the market RIGHT NOW that will NEVER hit Zillow.

When a home for sale shows up on Zillow or other large real estate websites, it’s delayed. Depending on the area, the delay can be 24 hours, 48 hours or even longer! The problem with this is in today’s competitive market, the best deals are often sold within the first week!   If you don’t get a heads up on that perfect property when it first hits the market, you won’t stand a chance.


You CAN have access to the MOST UP-TO-DATE listing!

How are others finding the homes for sale in Lake Norman before you are? They have found that small detail that I shared with my client and get direct access to the source. It’s a system Realtors refer to as MLS or Multiple Listing Service. The MLS is the system Realtors use to list homes or properties for sale and it is updated in real time.

This means the second a house is listed for sale, or a change is made to a current listing (i.e. price reduction), it is updated immediately! Not a week later, not 48 hours later or even 30 minutes later..immediately!

If you have access to MLS, you will get alerts within seconds of that happening. This means you very well could be the first person to set up a showing, see the property and put in an offer! If you are fast enough, you could have the property under-contract before other buyers even see the home was for sale!


How Do YOU Get Access?

You can get access to the real-time, real estate listing portal in two different ways.

Firstly, you can go to real estate school and get your Realtors license. Most people are not looking to spend a lot of money and time on this. So unless you plan to make a career out of real estate, I would not recommend it. However; the second way is FREE and EASY!

This second option involves finding a trusted, top local Realtor in the Lake Norman area to set you up with a MLS search that meets your specific homes for sale search criteria. I always set my clients, and potential clients up with a customized MLS search. MLS will email you immediately (the very second) when a new home is listed, or a price change is made to a listing in your search.

When you receive an email alert from MLS for something you like, all you have to do is click on Schedule Showing, and you are potentially on your way to being the first person to view the home in person!

As a Realtor, I can give you a 48 hour head start over everyone else in your local market!

If you want access to MLS, just ask your real estate agent about it. Don’t have an agent? I would be happy to set you up! Just give me a call, or shoot me an email or text message and we can discuss your specific needs.

If you aren’t currently serious about your search, you can stick to browsing your favorite site or sign up for daily/weekly updates for a particular area you like.

Let me know how your home search goes and happy house hunting!

Thank you for reading!

Beth Sterner


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