Viewing Homes – The New Normal – On-Line or In Person???

Pat Web Photo4The Internet has revolutionized a lot of things:  think – talking to your friends – communicating with your relatives – setting up appointments with your doctor – shopping…. it goes on and on!

Real Estate sales are not exempt from the Internet revolution – and the way folks select homes to see and buy is changing along with everything else.  I will tell you I am a bit biased because I still believe a buyer of a home needs to walk up to the door – walk in – and feel a WOW!!!  The actual buying process is more than an Internet look.  It’s the sight, the smell and the feel that makes a house a home.

That being said – the way most people arrive at the buying decision today is vastly different than even five years ago.  Today, most folks start their searches on the Internet  – not the newspaper or driving around looking for signs or working with a Realtor like they did in the past.

With the advent of high resolution photography – inexpensive digital and video cameras – a buyer can cruise the Internet and see floor plans, room decoration from many angles, photos of the neighborhood and just about anything else about a property.  This is good news and bad news all rolled into one.  Good news everything is so transparent – bad news that buyers often rely on just photographs or videos to make the decision whether or not to go see the home in person.

I often find out of town buyers who are only in town for a weekend have already made up their minds on what homes they want to see and those they don’t want to see.  Most of these decisions are being made on the basis of what they saw on the Internet.  Time and again, I see folks reject some perfectly good homes because the photos were either unavailable (shame on you agents who don’t take photos or hire a photographer – what an injustice to your sellers!) or were bad photos.

In the past, a buyer had to go into a home to rule it out – today they don’t need to go that far.  Buyers are taking their first tour of a house on-line.  By the time an actual showing is set up on a house – it could be considered a second showing since it has already been viewed on-line.

Sellers:  Make sure your agent has great photos of your home.

Buyers:  Don’t rule out a house just because the photos are unavailable – or you don’t like the decor – work with your agent to make sure you’re seeing the cream of the crop – not dumping something because it isn’t photogenic.