Inman writes that consumers tend to rent and own homes at different points in their lives, said Marilyn Wilson, co-founder at WAV Group. They may rent when they're young, buy when starting a family, rent for a child in college, rent or buy a vacation home, rent or buy a smaller home when children move away, or sometimes have multiple rentals in order to travel in later years.

But many agents and brokers tend to focus on the homeownership aspect of that cycle and by default give up the rentals side of the business to third-party websites, she said.