A quality-control system for real estate listings

Real estate search and technology site Trulia has launched a free system to identify discrepancies between real estate listings from multiple listing services and listings on third-party syndication sites, the company announced today.

Participating MLSs provide the system, called “Trulia Direct Reference,” with accurate data on factors such as list price and status. The system then automatically reports discrepancies back to the MLS, broker and listing agent. The agent can then visit the third-party sources and correct the information, the company said.

“Consumers have long expressed their dismay at finding a home’s online listing had the wrong price or status. We believe that Trulia Direct Reference is a positive and necessary action to help achieve full online data integrity for brokers, agents and consumers,” said Sami Inkinen, president and co-founder of Trulia, in a statement.

Listings quality is a long-standing issue across the online real estate space, most recently with Google’s decision to drop real estate listings from Google Maps.

An analysis of a sample of more than 500,000 listings uploaded to Trulia has found that nearly 10 percent have incorrect data for either price or status, Inkinen said.

With Direct Reference, Trulia “will be able to provide the industry with better visibility into data inaccuracies, empowering the industry to stop them at the source,” he stated.

An MLS Advisory Board that Trulia established in early 2009 played a major role in developing this initiative, the company said.

“Most MLSs already have compliance staff out there trying to do the very hard work of detecting discrepancies and contacting agents to get corrections made. We’re trying to make the detecting work easier for them,” said Tara-Nicholle Nelson, consumer educator for Trulia. Nelson is also an Inman News columnist.

Where Direct Reference finds a price discrepancy, a listing on Trulia will display the price supplied by the MLS, with attribution. The rest of the listing’s data will remain as provided by the third-party source. However, if an MLS says a listing has been sold, the listing will not appear on Trulia, Nelson said.

MLSs can participate in the system at no cost whether or not they syndicate listings to Trulia.

“Direct Reference participants feed us a reference file of data we use only for the purpose of detecting discrepancies in the listing data we’ve received from other sources. This reference file is not a full syndication feed with complete listing data,” Nelson said.

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