Everything about looking for a Windsor home has changed in the last decade or two. Purchasing an airline ticket, buying clothes and even furniture, you can virtually do it all online. It’s just about the same with homes. But buyer beware! Unlike other items, you can’t return a house if it doesn’t fit. While I strongly encourage buyers to start their home search online, it’s complicated buying a home today, so make sure you hire a professional real estate agent to not only save you money, but to make sure you are getting what you pay for.
Looking for homes online is a terrific way to weed out properties you aren’t interested in. It’s also available 24/7, so you can look at homes at any hour or day of the week. And homes that have virtual tours and lots of quality pictures with excellent descriptions get a buyer’s attention.
The Advantages of Looking For Homes Online:
1. A buyer can immediately see the large amount of properties on the market with the asking price and details of the home.
2. A buyer can focus on the neighbourhood and community desired. Most home sites allow you to search within your specifications.
3. A buyer can focus on their price range.
4. It’s an all around time saver. A buyer can weed out those properties that don’t interest them, thus not wasting their time touring a property.
5. Get access to new properties that come on the market every day.
The Disadvantages of Looking For A Home Online:
1. There are lots of homes to review. There can be several thousand homes on the market and buyers are often under the impression they must look at every one. A real estate agent can narrow your search quickly which is extremely helpful if you are not familiar with the area. Find a real estate agent that is considered a “neighbourhood specialist,” who knows the area very well. They can tell you where the good schools are, which homes are overpriced, or if any homes may be coming on the market in the near future. The internet can’t do that.
2. Not all information regarding a property is accurate. What a seller may consider a three bedroom house, is actually a two bedroom with a converted garage. A good real estate agent will know this information, particularly if the home is surrounded by similar two bedroom homes.
3. Not all homes for sale are online. Again, by hiring a neighbourhood specialist, he or she will know of any properties that are quietly on the market or again, will be listed in the near future. Agents talk to other agents and knows all the details about a property and what’s a hit or a miss in housing or other good details such as if the owner is motivated or if a home has received multiple offers. Again, this is something the Internet can’t tell you.
4. If you find a home you like online, and contact the seller’s agent, remember that you are working with someone who has an interest in both sides of the deal. How can they get you the best possible price if they work for the seller as well? Always, hire your own agent if you see a home you like on the Internet. You want someone who works exclusively with YOU!
5. Obviously, homes listed on the Internet don’t list their weak points. It doesn’t mention if it’s near traffic or in a lousy school district or commercial buildings. You may see words like, “up and coming area,” “revitalized,” etc. Again, a home may look terrific online but in reality, may be in a crime ridden neighbourhood. A good real estate agent can tell you this immediately.
6. A buyer cannot rely on what the square footage is without looking at the home.
Again, as I have said many times on this website: Ninety percent of buyers start their search online. It’s a terrific way to get a feel for what is available in today’s housing market and if homes with your requirements fits your budget. But remember, only by comparing neighbourhood comps will you know if a price is inflated or not. So again, not everything you see online is accurate.
When time is of the essence when looking at homes, you can always call your agent and to get more information about a property. Chances are, they have seen the home that is for sale, or they can preview it. Buyers don’t have endless amounts of time to search for homes, and many live in different communities or across the country. A good agent will get the necessary information for their client and come up with comparable homes that may fit the bill.