With more than 1150 miles of shoreline, the Lake of the Ozarks extends thru 3 counties and several small communities. Understandably then for those new or unfamiliar with the Lake area, a home search thru such an extensive area can feel daunting. And for even the most experienced realtors, physically showing all the available lake front properties around the Lake of the Ozarks could conceivably take weeks.
While most homebuyers I've worked with DO want to see a fair sampling of lakefront properties for comparisons, there is a limit as to how many 8 hour days they will tolerate driving to remote locations.
It's always been a smart practice to take the time to get acquainted with potential homebuyers upfront - understanding their interests and their needs, prequalifying them to determine their target price range - as well as developing a rather extensive ‘wish list'. Undoubtably lots of time and gas can be saved by this process.
What has changed these past years is this: once I have a strong sense of what my clients are looking for, I don't hop into my car. Not yet. First I turn on the computer.
Whether my clients are sitting across my desk, or sitting at their own computers thousands of miles away we prescreen properties by searching the MLS, watching virtual tours, and scrolling thru extensive photo galleries. What a time saver this alone can be!
This year, however, I've discovered another great timesaver which has become indispensible for me in showing lakefront property: Google maps. Gone are the days where I drive miles down a steep gravel road to discover that the home is tucked back at the end of a cove even though the listing description advertises a panoramic view! And gone are the days when I take a client who wants a quiet cove location to a property sitting on the main channel.
Using the example of the image to the left, it's easy to see how a home just four houses apart will have substantially different views, water depths and access. Now it would be great if the clarity and resolution of these images were sharper, but I'm not complaining. These views give us the information we need to eliminate property that definitely would not work, so we can make best use of our time together in the car viewing properties that have the best chances of being ‘the one'.
Not only is this resource good for buyers, but my sellers appreciate my using this tool in a more indirect way: it can be very discouraging for sellers who have turned off the oven and vacated their home on short notice for a viewing to receive feedback that the prospective buyer wanted a home further back in a cove.
So, to borrow a favorite saying from Martha - for me, Google maps is a "very good thing".
(This article was originally posted at Buying a lake home at Lake of the Ozarks made easier with online technology.)