Online listings have made real estate a whole new ballgame. Unlike the old days, when real estate agents relied on newspaper ads that by design only provided partial information about a property, online listings now can tell consumers almost everything they need to know about a home before they even get in to see it. Whether you are just mildly curious about your neighbor’s house or actively searching for your next home, online real estate viewing has become our national pastime.
Shark Infested Waters
Google is great for most searches, but the one place it fails is real estate. A number of companies game the system to try to attract buyers. They’ve indexed every street address in America and pay to get to the front page of Google search results. If you Google “123 Sycamore Drive,” the first two or three pages of listings are often going to be out-of-date garbage. They might have what appears to be a video tour, but it’s just a single still photo taken from a legitimate listing.
Online real estate search sites get more than 100 million unique visitors a month. Considering that there are only about 400,000 home sales a month, the majority of those 100 million visitors are not actually active buyers. The counterpoint to all the great information on the internet, though, is that it’s still a little bit like the “Wild, Wild West” out there. You’re counting on everyone to play nice in the sandbox, but the non-realtor sites are unregulated. There are Web sites that may look like legitimate For Sale by Owner (FSBO) ads, but they allow anyone to post listings for sale, even for properties they don’t own. You think you’re contacting the actual owner, but you’re really dealing with someone sitting in a cubicle in “the cloud.”
It’s also important to remember that a virtual listing is just that: virtual. If you’re truly interested in buying a home, the best advice is narrow down your selection you should get off the internet, find a licensed agent and visit the homes in person to get a feel for the properties and neighborhoods.
eXp Realty—The Results Team—is ready to help you buy or sell your home! Stop on by our location at 2623 N. Walnut St, Bloomington, IN 47404. Or call us at: (812)822-2746.