Buying and selling a home changes throughout time. In this day and age, the internet has been proven a valuable resource for many people and companies. When it comes to Real Estate, this can also be true, however, sometimes not in the way many people would think. In order to understand how the internet can help, it is first important to understand what the current market is.
As of now, we are in a market that is very slow with residential sales. These sales will, in most probabilities, increase in years to come. For now, the market is highly geared towards buyers, especially investors. With that in mind, let us focus on the buyer first.
The buyer is out looking for a good deal. They know the market and know they have the upper hand. There are typically a few resources they will check before heading to a realtor. First, they will pull their local newspaper and Real State guide (or equivalent). They will browse through the offerings there and then turn to the internet. On the internet they will find many realtor sites and then MLS listings. In these listings they will find many homes that seem like a good deal, homes they will not qualify for and homes that are unrealistically priced. This is a good way to get a feel for what houses are on the market, what the general price range is and how many are consistently available.
Now, here is the downside of the internet. As mentioned before, there are some listings that are just completely unrealistic. Unfortunately, these numbers are growing rapidly. With the number of short sale listings happening, Realtors are listing properties at ridiculously low ball prices to lure people in. The buyer contacts the realtor inquiring about the home and find out either one of two things. The listing price is subject to bank approval that could take anywhere from 3 months to a year, and that is not even guaranteeing a sale. Or, the buyer will find out the realtor picked a number and the price has not yet been approved. In general, when searching the internet, it is best not to take the price of short sales.
Another problem with strictly utilizing the internet for home buying is the fact that many realtor sites do not update their listings. Even the MLS does not get updated as often as need be. In general, if a buyer is interested in the home, they will need to contact the seller directly. This is really the only true way to find out the availability and specifications of the home.
On the Flip side, the Seller can use the internet to their advantage. As mentioned above, it is a good away to lure a buyer in. Also, in the search engine rankings, a webpage can be viewed unlimited amounts of times and not cost extra money if done naturally. Being that a buyer predominantly turn to the internet, that is your opportunity to capture their interest and give them as much information as possible. Well, enough so they will call for further details.
Whether you are a buyer or seller, the internet can be a good tool, but only to a certain extent. Most serious home buying and selling will be conducted one on one for a successful transaction.