It seems there is an unlimited number of websites that allow you to view real estate listings. The biggest aggregators that pull in listings from all areas of the country include Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and But in addition, each brokerage company has a company-wide listing site, while individual agents often have their own websites as well.

The aggregator websites get paid for with ads (which are based on the number of people searching for listings) and also by real estate agents whose names get surfaced if you happen to be looking in a zip code they pay to cover. We’re willing to bet that many of the agents who have contacted you got your contact information because they paid the website for that access to it.

If you visit one of the more popular real estate websites and look at a home, the site will show a listing with the name of the listing company and agent below the written description for the property. Some sites will give you the option to connect with an agent for this home, but that person may not be the actual listing agent. And other sites will give you the option to fill in a box with your information to get more information about the property. Again, when you enter the information, your name and phone number does not always go to the listing agent — or it may go to other agents in addition to the listing agent.

That’s called real estate marketing, and it’s a multi-billion-dollar business. So, when you’re searching for listing information, make sure you get connected to the listing agent. Or, take the name of the agent and look up the property in a search engine to find the agent’s own information.

Now let’s address incomplete listing information. In our view, there’s no excuse for information to be missing from the listing, such as details about the included appliances, the amount of real estate taxes and the homeowner association dues. The only reason information like this would be excluded is that the agent has made a mistake, or there is a technology glitch (it happens!) or the agent purposely didn’t include it because they didn’t want to for some reason.

A quick search on a main aggregator website for properties in Maryland confirmed that the listings showed homeowner association dues and property taxes. In some instances, these costs were shown under an itemized list of some of the costs and features for the property and in others in what your monthly costs might be for the property.

In looking at some sites, you might have to drill down into the property features to see if the home has a washer and dryer. If it’s not listed there, the property likely does not have a washer and dryer that will come with it (although it may have a hookup and you’ll have to buy your own appliances).

Ultimately, if you must know or need to confirm details about the property, you would have to contact the actual listing agent for that information. Finally, you can request that the listing agent not contact you in the future and that if you have any questions, you will contact the listing agent.

You should also know that once you contact that listing agent and later decide to hire your own agent to view the property, the listing agent may not agree to have your agent come to the showing and may claim that you are the listing agent’s client. You see, when you contact that listing agent on your own without a real estate agent, your interaction with that agent may make that agent a dual agent where the listing agent is both an agent for the seller and an agent for the buyer.