Close to 90% of home shoppers use the internet in the home-buying process, according to a recent National Association of Realtors survey. At Bandy Homes, we have taken note of this and upgraded our websites to be very user friendly and full of information. Seeing area homes on line familiarizes potential buyers with what is available in the area. It gives you an idea of how much you will get for your money and saves a lot of legwork.
Using the internet when looking for your Denver area home does not mean that you should put off finding a good local agent. Though the internet has revolutionized real estate, few internet shoppers actually make a real estate purchase on line. It's one thing to take a leap of faith and buy a pair of shoes on eBay, but there's a lot more money involved and a lot more long-term consequences for making a bad choice in real estate. Even before a buyer is ready to make a purchase, there are several good reasons to use the expertise only an agent can offer to supplement your internet research.
First, most websites do not offer all the properties available in the area. Agents, however, have access to all listings on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and may even know of other properties that may be coming up for sale in the near future. Popular sites that you might visit such as Realtor.com, Zillow, or Trulia only include part of the listings that are live in the MLS. Your perfect house might be missing from those sites.
Second, if you need to sell your home before you buy another one, you will want to know how much it would sell for. On-line comparative market value analysis can offer you a ballpark figure for how much your property is worth but cannot account for the unique features of your home, the condition, or any other neighborhood variables. Your agent can actually pull up the selling price of other homes in your neighborhood, as well as evaluate your particular home. You may get the word from the agent that your black walls and leaking basement will make the value less, while your deck will justify a higher price.
Third, though you can amass a lot of knowledge about buying or selling a home by reading real estate blogs, market data, and housing news, your local agent can give you information and advice based on your situation and the local market. When it comes to conducting the transaction, your agent also makes sure all the right paperwork is processed and at the right time. You do not want to make a costly mistake based on your inexperience.
Fourth, it's easy to overlook homes for sale by owner (FSBO) in internet searches. As many as 25% of homes for sale do not come up on various sites and are not in the MLS. Your internet search should cast a wide net, including Craigslist, to get a fuller range of what is available FSBO. Your agent might even have a better handle on FSBO properties than you can get on your own.
Fifth, not all listings on the internet are legitimate. Some listings (especially those without pictures) do not really exist, and by clicking on them, you may enable a scammer to gather some information about you. People who do not own property can portray themselves as owners and even collect deposits that will not apply to the property.
The internet is a valuable asset in home buying and selling. When used as a source of background information, it can help you work with your agent to come up with just the right home and just the right offer. But there is no substitute for an experienced, professional real estate agent.