Just Ask Adam

6 Things to Keep in Mind When Online Home Shopping

The residential real estate industry has changed drastically in the past 25 years.

In the early 90s, realtors would get “hot sheets” over voicemail and receive listing updates by booklets every two weeks. Today, the internet, mixed with advanced technology, gives realtors, buyers, and sellers access to information immediately. While new technology and trends make a realtor’s job more fast-paced and exciting, having resources like these can be a blessing and a curse. We’ve put together a list of things buyers and sellers must know before browsing homes online.


For Buyers:

1. Price estimates on sites like Zillow and Trulia are almost always wrong.

Sites like Zillow use algorithms to determine the estimated prices on houses for sale.

According to a study by realtor.org, The Digital House Hunt, “zestimates” miss the mark by on average $14,000.

These numbers can seem exciting to buyers, empowering their wish to negotiate the price down, but overall are a detrimental tool to both sellers and buyers. These numbers can be off-base and extremely misleading to an online shopper.

2. A lot of information online is inaccurate.

Aside from the monetary values of homes being marketing incorrectly on these sites, many online real estate resources favor quantity over quality. Therefore, they often feature out-dated information, images, and numbers. Many do not account for home remodels, improvements, and can ultimately misrepresent many aspects of a property.

3. Ultimately, digital research should complement your home search, not replace it.

Buyers should always consider a professional realtor when searching for homes. An online photo gallery may seem like a substitution for an open house or walk-through, but a knowledgable real estate agent will point out details in a home that may or may not be featured online.

You may find the home online which you eventually end up purchasing, as 44% of people do, but be wary of braving the process alone. We know the proper way to handle inspections, negotiations, and anything unexpected that may occur. For more reasons why you should use a real estate agent (like dealing with difficult negotiations), click here.
From: National Association of Realtors http://www.realtor.org/field-guides/field-guide-to-quick-real-estate-statistics
From: National Association of Realtors

For Sellers:

4. Invest in professional photography

for your home.

With the popularity of online shopping for homes, we use our website as a tool when selling your home. Our listings page always has the most up-to-date information about your home. If you explore some of the listings we have, you will see how much we value good photography. The digital realm becomes beneficial in real estate because it can hook buyers and entice them to look at a house. We have a photographer on staff who is an expert at photographing homes.

Here are some of our favorite photos:

65 Quail Hollow Dr. Moreland Hills, OH 44022
19400 N Park Blvd, Shaker Heights, OH 44122

5. Consider a professionally made video of your home and property.

A large trend in the real estate industry right now is drone videos. Especially if you have a large property, a drove video can capture the feel of your entire property. If a drone video doesn’t fit your budget, discuss putting together a slideshow of your property. Here is an example of an incredible drone video we had made:

6. Make sure your home is listed on your realtor’s website.

When people come across your home on one of those sites (Zillow, Trulia, etc.) they will probably turn to a secondary search to learn more. Although we don’t want to rely on Trulia or Zillow, they may pique the interest of a potential buyer. This is why it is crucial to be on your realtor’s site, so they can search your address and find great photos and an accurate description of your home. All of our listings are housed on JustAskAdam and Howard Hanna for you to explore.

The more you know…

In today’s digital world, knowledge is power. Use the online assets to supplement your home search, but not replace the aid of a realtor. We want technology to be our friend, not our foe. You should leverage the digital housing realm – but make sure you educate yourself on its strengths and weaknesses so it doesn’t hurt your home buying (or selling) experience.