It's proven that over 87% of buyers are shopping online for homes first, before driving around to look at homes in person. Some are waiting to contact a Real Estate agent after doing their online searching. Others like to work hand in hand with a Realtor from the start. It's a nice blend to have the Realtor send you homes while you do your own online searching. The Real Estate Broker often knows of homes that are not listed, but are for sale, and can email the information and pictures to clients. I also set up clients on an automatic send list. That way the minute new properties are listed, the client will receive an email with details. I personally love working with clients like this. It can help educate a client about the property values in an area and help them get a sense of what they might be able to afford or even want to spend in a certain area. And I enjoy the team-effort feeling of finding a client's dream home.
I also use the online tools when helping someone sell their home. In fact, when I take a listing I often email the sellers all the different comparable sales in the area so they can get a feel for exactly how to price their home. It's helpful, of course, when there are lots of pictures and videos of the homes. I think every agent listing a home for sale should attach pictures and videos. If so many people are looking at your home for sale online, you need to maximize the potential that they will want to see it in person.
Remember, not all Real Estate websites are equal. I personally do not like the ones that force you to sign up or give your contact info out before you even get to search. I like to let people search right away and then decide if they want to use me or not. When I had my website first built I stressed that I wanted it to be easy for new clients to be able to search for homes quickly and easily. Enjoy and happy hunting.