Okay consumers… did you know that people buy homes differently today than ten years ago?
Today’s real estate consumer has so much information available that is specific, in depth and literally on demand that it has transformed the role of the real estate agent… for the better. The way consumers get mortgage information is better too as home buyers come prepared often before they look at their first house.
Twelve years ago I was one of the first agents to jump at adding Northern Virginia home-search capability to my web site. It was up to date and provided by the people at the MLS, but the photos were few and there were none of the mapping features common today. When I would share with my colleagues that my clients had showed up with five listings that they had already picked and wanted to see, well they would be amazed. Because for years, really, it was the agents who selected that short-list.
And ten years ago when a client told me that they had been pre-qualified online by “Quicken” or BestRate.com it seemed pretty darn exciting. Wow, a pre-approval letter already in hand! Of course we all learned a lesson when those loans occasionally did not arrive on-time or close for a host of reasons (and much finger pointing).
So buying a home should be easier today in
2010 2014 than then, no?
Yes consumers do have more knowledge but with that comes real world application. Because you need to remember that we are still dealing with people, and those people make decisions to act one way or another.
Getting a home ready to sell in the HGTV episode looked pretty easy… de-clutter, some fresh paint, new wall-to-wall carpet, flowering plants, vanilla oil, de-clutter again, clean the windows, and maybe a small kitchen update like granite counter tops. Yup, all in a neat little half-hour episode.
The funny thing is that the buyers have seen that HGTV episode too and are far too savvy to fall for that superficial hype. Although I agree, any house does look considerably better (but it will take a little more time to finish the staging plan).
You are both using the same home sales “intel”
It’s true. Those home buyers are looking up your home on Google, checking satellite maps, making sure your neighborhood school has good test numbers, calculating how much a high efficiency furnace or new windows may cost, and of course looking at the “Zestimate” or “Walkability Score” of any property of interest.
So what does all this mean? Any active real estate agent will tell you that these consumers are facing house information overload and that the steady hand of a professional real estate agent as the human interface is more essential than ever to get the deal done. It’s just a skill your Google can’t Google.
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