Today it seems that a high percentage (actually, about 95%) of home shoppers begin their search for a new home online, on such web sites as Zillow or Trulia. What reasons might someone want to shop in this way? Well there’s the convenience of searching from home or the office, even in your pajamas, and at one’s own pace.
It’s also a way to start getting an idea of what’s out there in the market and make oneself familiar with the home-buying territory, and mentally formulating a plan for action. And I think there is also a bit of fear in meeting a Realtor who can help with the process, perhaps because it becomes more “real” then. And scarey.
Once you decide you want to know more and look more closely at possibilities, it’s important to begin developing a relationship with a Realtor. Serious buyers will not try to avoid entering an agreement for a Realtor to go to work for them before the looking begins. As a buyer, you will certainly need to have been qualified by a lender to purchase at a level you can afford. You might even bring a list of houses you’ve seen online. A Realtor can help you check them out, as often the homes have already sold or are otherwise not available.
A Realtor is a buyer’s or seller’s best friend, a personal “helper”, when it comes to dealing in properties. What if you already own a home and you want to find out its value, or what price you might get for it if you sell? You might also check in with online web sites to get an idea. But, be aware that these web sites do not know the market as well as the local Realtor. You may be unhappy to learn that a price you see for a home in your neighborhood is not accurate. Too many times people are misguided by the information they see on these web sites, and they get disappointed when they find that out.
Realtors know the markets we work in, and we persevere with our clients, whether they are buyers or sellers. We are problems solvers, and we can facilitate and guide the contract process. We do, however, have restrictions on just how far we can go. We are not attorneys or tax accountants. We don’t go where it’s not our business, or beyond our expertise! (In future posts I will discuss our code of conduct.) Most Realtors are professional, well educated in their field, and conduct their business with integrity, always with their client in mind.
Being a Realtor is not about selling as much as it is about developing relationships. Having a good rapport between a client and Realtor goes a long way to enhancing the process, and having a successful outcome, whether buying or selling. If a buyer is serious about buying, and has taken the necessary steps to enter the market, i.e. talking to a lender and getting qualified, the buyer will willingly enter the dialogue about working with a Realtor, and developing a relationship where they can reach their goal. If a seller is serious about selling, the seller will, most of the time, enter a relationship with a Realtor so the property can be listed.
So, go ahead and look online, knowing that there is a lot of room for different information. And then, when you are serious, contact a Realtor who can help you find the right home in the right neighborhood, at the right price, or the right person to market your home if you are selling.
We are here to help you reach your goal!