When it comes to searching for your next home online, there's good news and then there's bad news.
The Good News: The internet has given homebuyers access to valuable information about the real estate market - and virtual access to properties - that makes searching for a home easier than ever before. In fact, more than 90 percent of homebuyers start their searches online and today's buyers are likely the most informed and savvy generation of home seekers in history.
The Bad News: The top 3 real estate websites - Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia - were designed for real estate agents and not for consumers. Their business models are centered on generating leads for Realtors, and revenue for the sites, and have major pitfalls for homebuyers and sellers. Here are the top 3 issues you may encounter when relying on Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia for information in your home search process:
1. You'll become a "hot lead"
The three big real estate websites are designed to capture your contact information and feed it to real estate agents who subscribe to their service to obtain leads. Once you register and move around on these sites, you are put on call lists for these agents, and likely more than one of them. The result - your phone will be ringing off the hook. And no one wants that.
2. You'll likely get inaccurate information
Maybe it's because of their sheer size and the lack of truly local market knowledge on these huge platforms, but the largest real estate sites often aren't kept up to date. Which means that the homes you see for sale on those sites may no longer be for sale, which can be frustrating to say the least. And, as a seller, if you use these sites for reference when pricing your home for sale, it can be misleading. It's impossible for the big three sites to accurately assess the price of your home, due to nuances within your home, the local market, and other factors - which can negatively impact your efforts to sell your home.
3. You'll waste time
They say time is money - and that is especially true in real estate, when delays can be costly and keep you from achieving your goals, whether you are buying or selling...or both. If you base your home buying or selling research on the big three real estate sites, not only are you likely getting inaccurate or outdated information, you also are wasting valuable time that you could be spending with a real estate professional who is knowledgeable about your specific neighborhood and property values and who has an active local network of cooperating agents, buyers and sellers he or she can activate to ensure your real estate objectives are met.
The solution: Think local. Arbor Real Estate - and many other brokerages powered by expert agents who have worked and lived in the local market for decades - are the most accurate, effective and streamlined solution to achieving your real estate goals. Work closely with a local real estate professional from the start, and use the websites and apps of locally based brokerages to search for homes in your target market and to get a sense of what a home like yours might sell for. And, if you think your home for sale has global appeal, the internet gives even your local brokerage a worldwide presence, to attract national and international buyers for your property. The bottom line? When it comes to real estate, using local brokerages and sites helps you win, every time.