Traditional vs. On-line home hunting

August 19, 2008 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

I’ve heard several presentations over the past couple of years on the differences between “traditional” and “on-line” clients searching for homes.   The on-line world is increasingly important; the most recent study I’ve seen says that 84 percent of all Buyers start their home hunting by searching on-line, even before they contact a realtor to work with.

But I’ve noticed a trend lately and I want to direct some comments to on-line home Buyers.

With a “traditional” Buyer, at some point we meet, we review their criteria—such as price, desired location, number of bedrooms, and other factors—and then I make suggestions of properties to see.   Often I’ll e-mail property descriptions and my clients will see the ones that interest them at Open Houses.  Others will give me feedback and I’ll set up appointments at their convenience.   Eventually, we find a property that they like the best, I give them my view of the pros and cons, an offer is written and then accepted or not.

Many clients that I’ve met “cold” via my on-line presence, whether it be this blog, my website, or on-line ads, wind up going down the same path.

But some don’t.  There are some Buyers who will contact me about a specific property and then, if that property doesn’t meet their needs, vanish.  Presumably they then contact the next realtor about another specific property and repeat the process.

I think there is a value in working with a realtor, whether it’s me or someone else, who gets to know you and your preferences over time.   Once I’ve seen 6-8  potential homes with someone, I can pretty much internalize their values and “play” them when I see a property that is newly listed in the market, noting what they’ll like and dislike and, from their point of view, whether or not the property is something “hot” that they should see right away.

I’d like to suggest to the “on-line” Buyers who are reading this that they keep searching for specific properties on-line but that when you find a realtor who seems to click with you, for whatever reasons, you think about making that realtor a partner in your search.   Having a professional who understands your values and preferences will make your search much more efficient.   And who knows, as your realtor comes to understand what constitutes and ideal property for you, he or she may make suggestions that would have never occurred to you, thereby broadening the choices from which you will ultimately make a suggestion.   It happens.

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