Online real estate information websites can be a useful tool when buying, selling, or renting a house. Most of them having some sort of method for the homeowner to "claim" their house. As far as I can tell, the only benefit to claiming your house is the ability to edit the available information on your property. Why would you want to do this?
In my opinion, having up-to-date information is essential if you are planning to rent or sell your house. Even though online sites don't claim to be accurate, many buyers or renters will assume that the information listed is the correct information. It is relatively quick and simple to claim your property and make sure that the information is right. This will help the estimates be accurate, which will prevent situations where potential buyers or renters think that your house is overpriced just because some online site doesn't have the full details of your property. Keep in mind that it can take several weeks for your updated information to be put through the magic machine to be reflected on the websites.
Mrs. PoP from Planting Our Pennies has an interesting recap of her conversation with a Zillow representative at last year's Financial Blogger's Conference. Apparently, I need to dust of my running shoes before the next FinCon so that I can get these great tidbits!
If you own property, and you ever plan to sell or rent, I think it makes sense to go ahead and claim your property and make sure that it's information is accurate. The only potential downside is that you are sharing your contact information with these online companies, but honestly, most of us have shared our email address with half the companies in America. I think this is a small concern for the benefit of presenting the right information to prospective buyers or renters.
What do you think?