The Web Browsing Buyer
Today, the buyer has access to every property listed for sale across the country by a mere click. But are buyers getting all the information that they need to make the right decision? Market knowledge is something that good agents rely upon to guide their customers. This knowledge is not readily available on the internet. Here are some of the bugs in the system:
1) Only properties that are currently for sale are readily accessible on the web.
Properties that have sold are not so available. Do a search and you'll see that you can readily obtain a free market analysis complete with a comparison of sold properties -if you are willing to input all your personal information and wait for a reply from a service that is selling your email address to thousands of agents! When substantiating the value of a home for sale, it would be extremely time consuming and labor intensive to wait for such a "Market Analysis."
What just sold? The Multiple Listing Service systems, which Real Estate Brokers pay for, include closing and title information regarding sold properties, such as date of sale, actual selling price minus incentives given to buyers to close, and any special circumstances that reflect the price obtained by the seller. Successfully utilizing information about Solds is one of the most important abilities an agent can posses - it determines what sellers are accepting for their properties as opposed to what they are asking for them. Lenders strictly rely on Solds to determine what maximum loan amounts they are willing to lend. And most important for buyers, Solds help determine what buyers should be offering. Knowing what sold - and why it sold - is one of the main tools in negotiating a great buy.
2) Up to date information is not included on internet.
Availability, date of possession, pertinent disclosure issues, specific showing instructions, and current offers on the property are information that a buyer searching the web will have to obtain from the seller or his/her agent.
Sellers purposely do not remove their listings from the web when they are currently negotiating a sale. Not until an offer is accepted and a deposit received are they willing to disclose a pending sale. The web browsing buyer may be getting excited about a property that has already sold, or one that he may have to outbid someone else to obtain.
Specific disclosure about the property is not required by law until an offer is received by a ready, willing, and able buyer. A cracked foundation may be the motivation behind a low priced listing. A good agent familiar with the property in question is an invaluable resource for a potential buyer.
3) Market trends are not included on the internet.
Where is the market heading and where has it been in the specific location in which the web browsing buyer is searching for a home? What's a zip code worth? What's a school district worth? What major developments will impact the future of the area the buyer is searching in? Trust the sellers to give you only their asking prices! Good agents make a living knowing the answers to these questions.
4) Buyer's search parameters can be misleading.
The web browsing buyers parameters usually begin with zip code, price, and square footage of a home. Price parameters can arbitrarily exclude better homes that, although priced higher than what a buyer wants to pay, may be worth looking at. The seller may accept a lower bid in the buyer's price range after adequate negotiation. Knowing only the square footage of a home can be misleading as well. A large home with a dysfunctional or obsolete floorplan is worth less than a smaller home where space has been utilized appropriately.
5) Some properties never hit the internet!
Some Properties that are priced substantially below the market never hit the MLS or the internet! Either a quick sharp neighbor or agent buys it first!
Market Knowledge in not obtained by mere searching of listings for sale on the internet.
At JL Moneyline, we strive to provide the most current information that a potential buyer needs in making decisions regarding what to buy, where to buy, and what to offer. Essentially, Market Knowledge is our area of expertise.
Sellers in the Information Age
The personal computer has put an electronic spotlight onto the seller’s home. Everyone has access to what used to be the purview of real estate agents only. Prior to the widespread use of the Internet, potential buyers relied on a front yard sign, a newspaper ad, or their local Realtor to obtain information about available homes. Today, a potential buyer can take a virtual tour of an offered property without stepping foot through the front door. In a buyer’s market, potential purchasers are glutted with inventory that can be scrutinized at a comfortable distance -from their home computers! Where does the motivation come from for commitment to one specific property?
Good agents help potential buyers narrow down the multitude of choices. Smart agents help buyers through the loan approval process prior to showing available homes. The personal selection of property will never be outdone by online shopping. Like all advertisements, web based listings accentuate the positive and downplay the negative aspects of a home. With the slick editing of a video, a telephone pole can magically disappear from the view of a backyard! With a wide angle lens, a small den can appear to be an adequate fourth bedroom!
With the exclusion of properties that are for sale by owner, buyers rely on good agents to walk them through appropriate inventory and guide them through the home buying process. When a buyer buys directly through a seller who is marketing only his/her own home, risks are involved that are normally shouldered by real estate agents. The bulk of the home buying public may do their cursory searches for homes online, but most still rely upon a good real estate agent to help find and make a final choice.
Price setting in price-driven markets is one of the most valuable services that a good listing agent can provide to the seller. Price is not the only criteria to selling a home, but in a buyer’s market, setting the appropriate price is crucial to a successful close of escrow. No amount of marketing, however clever, will overcome a price that sticks out like a sore thumb!
At JL Moneyline, as listing agents, we use our market knowledge to help you set the appropriate asking price for your home. As lenders and buyer’s agents, we bring well qualified buyers to the table as well.