Using the Internet to search for a home on the Internet is a great place to start house hunting, but depending solely on the Internet to find your dream home is not, say the experts.
“There’s nothing like meeting people face-to-face, and there’s no substitute for walking into a home and getting that real house vibe that tells you whether you want to live there or not,” says Shawn Gardner, a Realtor specializing in luxury homes in New Canaan, and Fairfield, Connecticut with William Ravis Real Estate.
Gardner believes the Internet has been great for changing the way people do a lot of things, but that depending solely on the web for house hunting isn’t necessarily one of them.
Consider the Source
“The Internet has changed the way people do research, and the way they buy houses,” she said. “But successful house hunting isn’t as much about gathering information as it is about knowing if you can trust the source.”
Are you going to a source that you can trust, that has the information, photos and accurate information you want? Are you going to Homes.com, or to a broker’s site, or are you going to something posted on Craigslist, or YouTube, or on someone’s blog? Consider the source. If you find something that sounds too good to be true, it may be just that — not real.
Look At, but Don’t Totally Trust Property Photos
“It’s a Realtor’s job to make a property look the best it can,” Gardner says. “Those lush photographs we Realtors take are designed to make buyers want to take a second look. Remember that photos can emphasize the good and leave out the bad. You need to see a house in person to get the overall picture. Don’t rely on Internet photos alone.”
Photos can often be too dark, too blurry, too under or overexposed, or taken from an odd angle — making the home look bad when it’s really not.
“When people go online they make all sorts of snap decisions about a house based only on a few photos,” Gardner says. A house is more than how it looks. What may look cramped and crowded in pictures can actually feel cozy and warm in person.
You Don’t Know What You Think You Know
“The Internet often gives people a false sense of security. They may spend a few hours online and think they know more than they do. You can get into a lot of trouble if you don’t have a good Realtor to run that information by,” Gardner says. “I’m always happy to see clients who have spent time on the Internet, looking around, reading and learning about buying a home so they can ask questions. They don’t feel so helpless or vulnerable when they have some knowledge under their belt. The downside of researching things on the net is that buyers think spending a few hours on the Internet makes them a real estate expert. They come into a broker and tell the agent what they want, and they’re not open to hearing anything else. Some agents will go along with them because they just want to make a sale. But that can be a disaster, especially if you’re buying a luxury home. A good Realtor will stop a buyer and sit down with them and spend time talking with them. They’ll help them identify what they really need, and look at properties that will work best for them, and help them find a house and a community they’re going to be happy with. Not everything homebuyers want to know is on the Internet. Most of the time the Realtor knows far more about a property than any website. Do your research, but trust your agent. They’re the experts who are there to help you make the best decision.
Things On A Map Are Farther Away Than They Appear
Buyers tend to look at a Google or Internet or map app rather than go and drive around the actual neighborhood. Estimating distance from a map is not the best way to determine if something is close enough or too far away.
“People will look at places ‘as the crow flies,’” Gardner says. “They’ll say, ‘Oh, that’s only a few blocks, or a couple of miles away.’ What they don’t realize is that they’ll be driving or walking to those places every day, or at least a few times a week. They may have to stop at four traffic lights, two stop signs and make eight turns, cross the railroad tracks and risk morning school bus traffic to get to work. So it may take them 30 minutes to go a couple of miles. On the other hand, a house that looks much farther away, may actually be a straight shot to the interstate and ten minutes to their workplace, and five minutes to the grocery. So it looks farther away, but it is actually the better buy.”
Before you decide distance isn’t an issue, show up at the times you’re most likely to drive that route and actually drive it.
Pick Up The Phone
“Too many buyers rely solely on the Internet, email and texts. They rarely bother to pick up the telephone,” Gardner says. “One of the best resources for any buyer of any property is a good Realtor they can talk with. Not only can a Realtor ask the questions that help you focus your search, a good Realtor becomes your best ally, and a trusted friend who gets to know you and what you want. It’s difficult to form that kind of relationship and connection through text. “Find a good Realtor and talk to them,” Gardner says. “That’s really the best way to let your intuition work, by going on the house vibe you get along with the agent’s expertise and knowledge.
“The Internet can help you start your search, but the best way to find the right house is to visit it, tour it and experience it — and for that, you need a Realtor.”
My name is Scott Grebner and I have been helping my clients realize their own personal real estate dreams. Real estate is a relationship-based business that works best when client relationships are built on trust and confidence. My goal is having clients be completely satisfied with the professional and caring service they have received.
The role of technology is rapidly changing how the real-estate market functions in this country today. Re/Max Preferred Choice is embracing these new mediums of communication to better serve our customers. We have created our company to better place important information in your hands to help you with your housing needs. For a personal consultation please contact me at my Website.
It seems that the dream of past generations was to pay off a mortgage. The dream of today’s young families is to get one. I would love to hear from you, about your Real Estate Dreams and questions.