If you’re looking for the best real estate site for finding property in Frisco, TX, you might think that the big portals might help, especially if you’re used to using Rightmove in the UK.

What About The Real Estate Portals That Cover Frisco?

So you might go to Trulia or Zillow and start your search there. Since they are national portals with huge budgets, the website experience is great. But there’s one thing that these sites can sometimes come up short on, and it’s a big thing – the data. 

To understand the issue with the big portals, it’s worth taking a quick look at the estate agent industry here in Texas.

TL;DR version: there have been lots of lawsuits, and the best data is from MLS sites such as this one.

Non-MLS sites don’t have the best data

To sell homes in Texas you need a licence. To be able to sell effectively, you need to be part of a trade organisation – to be a Realtor and a member of your local real estate board. That gives access to the local central database so that as an agent, you can both market a home for a seller, and find a home for a buyer. So in Frisco, we’re members of the North Texas Real Estate Information System. That’s where all the homes are. It’s called the Multiple Listing Service or MLS.

If you look at the business models of the portals, they display homes for sale, and then sell advertising back to Realtors and try to pair up potential buyers with the Realtors who advertise with them. But the Realtor associations suddenly realised that they were giving their home data – all the homes for sale in their MLS databases – to the portals, and then letting the portals sell advertising to their member Realtors.

After a short “aha!” moment, they realised that they would do better not to automatically give their MLS data away for free, and gave Realtor businesses the opportunity to opt out of the “give your data away for free, and buy back advertising”, and at this point, the portals no longer have complete information on homes for sale.

Who Owns The Real Estate Data in Frisco and Where Is It?

So the people who own the data (the Realtors) now have the control over that MLS data. It’s not like in the UK where an estate agency can only show or market the properties that are part of their office – any Realtor can show any property to a client, no matter which Realtor is helping the seller.

There’s a concept of a buyers agent in Texas which is missing from residential retail property in the UK. They work for buyers for free, and help you find, view and negotiate any property. If you’re looking for a house – get one working for you at no cost.

Realtors own the most real estate data and they show it on their local MLS sites. (I’m a Realtor, and you’re on such a site now!)

Which Is The Best Real Estate Site For Frisco?

So which is the best site for finding homes in Frisco? I would say a pure Realtor MLS site rather than a portal and one that isn’t also trying to sell you a real estate agent. And if you are looking for an estate agent who understands the UK and Texas, you can’t go wrong with our Sherlock Homes Frisco homes for sale MLS site.

People in Britain don’t trust Estate Agents. I’m a Texas Estate Agent, so don’t take my word for it – check out the chart from the market research company Ipsos.

Estate Agents Trust

My own personal experience of the estate agent industry in the UK has been varied. I’ve purchased over 30 properties for myself and investors over the years (not as an estate agent), and it really depends on the firm. I’ve had great experiences with some very service-oriented individuals, and some less than stellar ones. I certainly don’t trust an estate agent’s opinion, and many seem more motivated to give customer service as a pure means to an end to get a commission. 

There is some regulation in the UK, and a few schemes which agents belong to, but in general, there’s no smoke without fire. There’s a reason people don’t trust estate agents – even if most people only ever deal with a few throughout the course of their lives.

It’s somewhat different in Texas in terms of regulation. To get a licence (in American – a license) to become an agent here there are courses to be taken, exams to be passed, and background checks.

There are 180 hours of classroom education, fingerprints are taken – and the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) has the ability to fine and suspend agents for bad behaviour. You can even check an agent’s tenure and qualifications with TREC’s online license checker, though sometimes I find that the TREC firewall prevents access from overseas internet traffic – you might need to use a VPN if you are researching agents from the UK.

So the million dollar question is – do regulation and licensing requirement in Texas make agents any better?

Texas Realtor Licence Satisfaction
Source: Texas Realtor Association

According to the 2017 report from the Texas Realtor Association, it looks like people love their estate agents over here. 4.91 out of 5 sounds remarkably high, but who are we to query their research methodology. There are over 120,000 Realtors in Texas – over 1% of the adult population not in education – they can’t all be winners. 

My own experience of purchasing and selling homes in Texas for myself, (not as a Realtor) has been pretty positive compared to the UK. The agents have been more responsive and pro-active in general, and despite there being multiple parties involved in a real estate transaction, I’ve found the integration between them more connected.

The stakes and rewards for a real estate agent in Texas are a higher proportion of the sales price of a home, and if nothing else, that seems to make them more motivated than their UK counterparts.

If you delve into the above report, you’ll see that referrals from clients account for over three in ten transactions here in Texas. So like the legion of people in the food service industry giving better customer attention over here, I find Texas Realtors work hard for repeat business. And no, you don’t need to tip them.

Sherlock Homes Frisco has British born agents who can help you buy or sell a home in the Dallas and Frisco area of Texas – get in touch to find if we’re a good match.