I wrote Keys to Home Buying Happiness and listed 5 points that I thought would help a buyer navigate the market. The 4th key is Don’t rely on false, misleading or uninformed sources.
There are more sources of bad information than I can list here, but these are the most common.
Family and close friends. When mom & dad bought the family home you grew up in, the market was a very different place. Even if they have bought and sold since then, conditions tend to change quickly and what might have been true even a couple years ago let alone decades ago, won’t be the same today. Uncle Bob seems to know a lot, but unless licensed or recently in the same local market their advice needs to be politely considered and weighed against the market you are buying in now.
Please, understand that YOU are the buyer, you will be living in the home and living with the choices you are going to make. You may not be able to please all your family, or friends. Unless they are going to be making the payments for you, your views are the most important ones.
Please understand, I’m not saying don’t listen to these most trusted people in your life. I am saying consider whether they are offering the best possible advice in the active market right now. As a buyer, you will have toured a number of homes. You have been watching the inventory on a regular basis and you know how fast or slow things are right now. You are aware of homes you liked, the ones which were under contract before you could act and what some of them sold for. Your family probably hasn’t been in the trenches with you and therefore, they are less informed about what it takes to be successful in the current environment.
Newspapers and the Media have another agenda. They sell advertising, not homes. Exciting or unusual stories make the front page and get all the airtime, but…. are they reporting about the neighborhoods you are exporing, the price points you are considering at the current time that you are in the market? It may be a Buyer’s or Seller’s market in one part of town, but that doesn’t mean it is where you are looking. Take what you read or hear with a grain of salt and let’s discuss how it may impact your buying options.
Websites are another form of media. They have a separate agenda from helping you buy a great home at the best possible terms. Most sell advertising to people like me. That’s how they get paid, not whether you actually buy or sell successfully. Nobody from Zillow, Trulia, CoreLogic or other site that provides AVM’s (Automated Valuation Models) has actually toured your home or the homes you’re considering. Each has their own special algorithm or formula to compare sales reports through public data to the general information about a home. These Estimates are NOT APPRAISALS. They have no idea if a home is dramatically updated or in severe need of deferred maintenance. The public information they rely on could be wrong and so their starting place is off. They don’t know if it has a view, is under buzzing high tension power lines or on a very busy street. Zillow says they are a “starting point” which is fine. You can start there under one condition, you don’t stop there!
What can you rely on? It would be easy to say, “me”, but I know trust is earned and should not come just because of a license. Over time, as you work closely with your broker, weigh what we tell you against the other voices in your life, you become the expert in your process. Keep the good, throw out the bad and learn from each experience along the way. I’d be honored to be part of your process as I have been for many already.