As a child, I wanted a set of World Atlas Encyclopedias. I loved to learn and research. Today’s youth hardly know what an encyclopedia is because they have the internet. If I say, “I wonder…”, my nephew will simply look it up on his smartphone. If I ask a question, it can be answered by thousands of responses on a Google search.
Our world has changed regarding how we receive information. We are in the information age where we can find answers easily, and this makes people better informed than ever before. The flip side of this, however, is that a lot of people then think they are experts on things, and they aren’t. There is still a need for information verification and that is done through tried and true experience. Someone who has worked in an industry for several years will have more information than someone who spent several weeks searching information online.
Online Real Estate Sites
There are lots on online home shopping sites, one of the major ones being Zillow. According to a Consumer Affairs review site, they have a 1 star ranking (Out of 5 stars available and at time of publishing, 94 reviews). Several consumer and agent complaints include:
- Old and outdated listing information
- Inaccurate market comparisons
- Listings that were sold showing as available and visa versa
- Bogus leads for agents
- Misrepresented home values
- Not taking into consideration condition of home
- Not taking into consideration value of outbuildings/ additional structures or acreage
In addition, Realtors are complaining that potential buyers and sellers are losing money by undervaluing their home, or, overpaying for a new one, based on inaccurate information. Realtors, ones that are able to actually walk the for sale property, can give accurate information that includes location, true market comparisons, the home’s condition and true square footage, upgrades and more.
Like an Online Dating Site
Good pictures, just like a dating site are critical. I helped a couple with finding a property, but I was underwhelmed based on what I saw online. The images for the property where dark and made it look small, and therefore overpriced. This caused a low amount of showings and therefore the property was sitting on the market a long time, which also doesn’t look good. The home appeared to be near a highway and I was concerned that the potential buyers wouldn’t get that “quiet mountain setting” they were looking for on this property, but they wanted to see it because it was in a great neighborhood.
As we came up to the home, I discovered that the highway was a non-issue. The property was significantly deep in the development and no traffic could be heard. The property was large and laid out well. The home had a fantastic view of the mountains and it was a clear oversight by the homeowners (and their Realtor) to not include the image of that or of the landscape.
When we walked the porch and saw the beautiful mountain peak with an unobstructed view, and a hot tub (also not in any pictures) facing the mountains, we wrote a contract. This gem was nearly missed because the images did no justice to the home.
I am trained to be better than a web site
As a Realtor, I am trained to listen to the needs of my clients, not just crank out home value estimates. As a professional in my field for over 20 years, I have learned that location is everything. It can affect home value and resell ability. I look for things that will be potential problems and I point those out to my clients. I know the best areas that will fit my clients needs and that isn’t something a website can do.