searching for a tahoe home online

Best way to Search for Tahoe Homes

We all see the ads. Whether it’s Zillow,, and so many more. They all claim to have the most up to date list of homes for sale. But what listing portal really has the most up-to-date and accurate listing data for your search for Tahoe homes?


While most online property search sites have access to the same data as the rest, there are differences in how often they are updated. This includes new listings and changes to existing listings. Also there is a difference in where they get their data from.

Some, listed in the graphic to the right, pull from most of the local Multiple Listing Services (MLS’s) throughout the country. This is the most accurate way to get listings. The MLS is where almost all real estate agents place their listings for sale. While a few agents or brokerages have decided to keep their listings private, and those will not show on any online database but might show up on the individual agent/brokerages website. But over 99% of all available homes for sale are on the MLS. It has been the gold standard for listing data for decades.

Recently new rules have been put into place requiring listing search sites to update their listings within 24 hours of changes being transmitted. The sites that pull from the MLS get an active constant feed, so they will usually update within an hour or so at the most. But we have noticed that Zillow tends to take a little longer and sometimes listings aren’t updated for 6 hours or more.

Then there are the independent local agent and brokerage websites, like the one you are on right now These sites like ours get direct data from the MLS as well and are also updated regularly. My site updates every 30 minutes or so. Being that it is focuses on our Tahoe area we are able to customize it to focus on what is relevant for Tahoe properties. You can sign up to save your own unique search with the criteria you are looking for. Or send us a message and we will set it up for you. Then you get auto-notifications when new listings come on the market within your criteria so you won’t miss a thing.


Also important to know is how these sites direct you to reach out to get more info. Some sites are tricky and show “preferred agents” who are NOT the actual listing agent or even a local agent. Instead that “preferred” status goes to whatever agent pays the most to get top placement. I’ve noticed for Tahoe properties the “preferred” agent on Zillow ends up being someone down in Sacramento who doesn’t know anything about the Tahoe real estate market. But there are also local Tahoe agents who paid for top placement. The main thing is you aren’t getting the listing agent who knows the most about the property.

Because of frustration from the public and agents, new rules were put into place that force online sites to show the listing agent and brokerage info. But they hide it. On Zillow you scroll down to just below the property description (paragraph of text) and it will show who it is listed by and their phone number to reach them directly, as well as the location of where they got the listing data from.

Why is this important? Because the listing agent knows the most about the property.


While any agent with a California/Nevada license can represent a buyer or seller of a property in Lake Tahoe, that doesn’t mean they all will have the knowledge and experience to guide you through the purchase/sale process and give you the best advise on local issues. I know lots of awesome Sacramento, Reno, and Los Angeles agents. But none of them would ever sell/buy a house in Tahoe without working with a local Tahoe agent.


I’ve had people contact me after they use an out of area agent represent them. They are frequently angry about something that wasn’t disclosed to them that affects the property they just purchased. One example is when a guy purchased a cute cabin off Ski Run Blvd. He had a cousin who was a real estate agent in San Diego represent him in the purchase. His main goal was to rent out the cabin on AirBnB and also wanted to add a garage to the property. However when he called the City office to get the short term rental permit he was shocked to find out short term rentals weren’t allowed in the area. He then asked the building department about adding a garage and was told that wouldn’t be allowed either.

Then he reached out to me after reading one of our articles on building and another on vacation rental rules in Tahoe. He asked me why his agent didn’t know about any of this. I simply said it has taken me over 20 years in real estate in Tahoe to gain the knowledge I have. And you can’t really expect a So Cal agent to know all the rules in Tahoe. Same as I have no idea about the local rules for properties in Los Angeles. Difference is I would never represent a buyer/seller in an area I don’t know.

Cute West Shore Cabin

Can you have any agent represent you? Of course you can. But please do your research. Check past client reviews and sales data, and how long they have been an agent in the local area you are looking to purchase in. That’s what our past clients have done and why the couple in the photo to the left ended up choosing our team to represent them in the purchase of their first home together.


Another important thing to know is if you put your name and contact info in a “request more info” form on one of the large listing sites like Zillow, your info will be sent out to agents, lenders, and others. You know what that means? Get ready for all the SPAM!!!

That’s right. You give them your contact info you can expect to get inundated with spam texts, calls, and emails. While it’s gotten better with the new anti-spam laws, it’s still pretty bad. Our team regularly checks the other major sites and does test runs with fake email addresses. And we have found that you will on average get 5 spam emails and 10 spam calls within a week of signing up for “more info” on Zillow or the other sites.

Ok, so how do you get info without all the spam? Simple. Contact the agent directly.

You can do this by calling or emailing the listing agent directly. Or find another local agent who has good client reviews and lots of experience. You don’t have to use the listing agent. In fact sometimes it is beneficial to have your own buyers agent representing you exclusively, instead of the listing agent who is representing the seller.

By contacting the agent directly you will most likely only be put on their individual newsletter email list and might get a call or email from them every couple months. Way better than tons of random spam calls and emails for days and days.


So in the end, while you can do all the online searching and research you want… you have options. And picking the right option can save you from a massive spam headache. Most importantly can make sure you have the best agent representation possible to protect your interests.

Our team would love to be that local Tahoe experienced agent for you. We have a combined 60 years of experience with real estate in Tahoe. We also have a light touch with our clients. That means no hard sells and no pushy salesmen attitude.

Let us help you find the perfect Tahoe or Carson Valley property for your needs. Simply fill out the contact form, give us a call/text at 530-541-2465, or email our team lead Amanda Adams at

Don’t want to talk to an agent yet? No problem. Just create an account so you can make a saved search and get new listing notifications.

  Keep up to date on Tahoe Real Estate

  1. Sign up for an email notification so you’ll know the minute Tahoe properties are listed.
  2. Call us directly at 530-541-2465 and we’ll go over all your options.
  3. Search all homes for sale around the lake. Our website makes it easy to search for homes that match your criteria.
  4. Get a FREE custom market evaluation for your home.

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