It happens all too often. Homebuyers will use online real estate marketplaces to search for a home, find a home they love and then find out the home is pending an offer or already sold.

So ZipRealty announced its Listing Check tool, an online feature that lets consumers determine if a home is actually for sale in the fast-moving and competitive markets today.

According to Chief Executive Officer and President Lanny Baker, "The Listing Check tool gives consumers instant verification on the sales status of any home they find online."

ZipRealty conducted research to discover that prominent real estate websites consistently fail to display a significant number of MLS-listed homes for sale. The websites also present a large number of sold homes, which appear as though they’re still for sale.

In fact, the research revealed that up to 30% of MLS homes listed for sale are actually missing from other real estate websites, while 15% are stale, expired or inactive.

"Information completeness, accuracy and timeliness are always important to homebuyers," said Baker.

"And, in today’s housing market in particular – with increasing prices and a general lack of inventory – relying on a real estate website that might offer incomplete, inaccurate or out-of-date home listings can be a major disadvantage," Baker added.

"Choice properties are selling at lightning speed, and home buyers searching on sites with incomplete data can easily miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime: finding and purchasing their dream home," he added.

ZipRealty’s Listing Check tool can be found on ZipRealty.com.