Specialized Buyers Agent Answers Real Estate Questions
Q. Our agent warned us against spending too much time on the internet looking at homes. She wants us to go out and see them. Isn’t that a waste of our time? D. and L. Salus, West Chester
A. I think she should recognize that a majority of potential home buyers now look online for homes, even though many end up buying through an agent. My website has all the multiple listings as do those of most of the area real estate companies, so the old paradigm of the listing company having control of the inventory is gone. People will shop online. I think it is a great way to get a general idea of the types of home and the range of prices in any given area. What people do not realize until they go out is that the photos do not begin to tell the whole story. I have seen countless listings where the shots look great until you get to the house and see they were all taken with a wide angle lens or the house is right next to a factory or the ceilings are so low you can’t stand up.
I had one client whose mother lived in another part of the country who would “google- earth” along Philly streets. Then she would ask me to find out about houses that she liked that weren’t even for sale! Her son made a good income and the houses she was finding were subsidized for low-income buyers. That was a foreign concept to her. She just liked the fact that the house had a garage.
On the flip side, I always tell people you should not eliminate a house that is the style you like in a good location at a reasonable price without going to see it. I have seen some really bad photography where the house was actually lovely.
You might schedule a phone call every few days with your agent to go over the ones where you liked the photos to see if she has any information one way or the other that would be relevant to you. Many agents will already have seen the house at an agent tour or will know the builder’s reputation for quality. Having your own agent is very smart and costs you nothing, so you should take advantage of that resource when making such a large investment.