Internet changing how we select a new home

JamieJanuary 18, 2011

For purposes of this discussion, I'm assuming that a buyer is familiar with the general location where he's looking.

So let's say the seller is me and the buyer is someone like me.

The floorplan and good interior and exterior photos are posted, and the street is on google maps or whatever so I can walk it from my desk. There wouldn't be a lot of need to visit the house unless I already knew I was going to like it a whole lot.

Can we still look at number of people walking through the house as a good indicator of how well the realtor is doing or how well or poorly the house is priced?

Should I have the realtor hold back a photo or something just to force people to walk through?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jamie

P.S. Assume this is a used home with a standard-ish lot size in a neighborhood or subdivision -- not new construction, not on acreage, not attached or condo.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 8:45AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
thisishishouse

I don't think number of showings is any direct indicator of a realtor's performance. Maybe pricing. If NOBODY walks through in the first few weeks, then pricing may be an issue. There's just very few buyers out there right now. We've had, on average, about 2 showings per month. We've had a few express interest, but they have their own home to sell first. You don't want a LOT of showings, just the ones who are seriously interested.

Holding back a photo won't do anything helpful. From our experience, we use online mls, maps, assessor records, etc as a way to mostly filter OUT properties. I think with the amount of information available online, properties without a similar amount of information posted will be suspect, and more likely to be ignored. There's never been a case where we said "they didn't post a pic of the dining room, I guess we'll have to schedule a showing." If anything, the more pix there are, the better chance we'd want to see it live. Or determine that we're not interested, in which case a showing would have just wasted our time.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 9:14AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Billl

There are no "tricks" to get someone to buy a home. You just need to try to show your property in the best possible light and price it appropriately.

BTW - you only want showings for people who really like what they saw online or from their agent. Even if you could trick people into seeing your home even though they were luke-warm, what would be the point?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 9:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Jamie

I was being tongue in keyboard.

As recently as 10 or 15 years ago there was an army of people who drove around unlocking lock boxes all day.

If it can all be done electronically today, why are so many homes listed with insufficient info?

    Bookmark   January 18, 2011 at 9:48AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lazy_gardens

Should I have the realtor hold back a photo or something just to force people to walk through?

No. You will lose out to the houses with pictures. Consider the Internet listing to be an on-line walk-through and show off all the goodies, with really good pictures.

Unless I was working from a very short list of properties, I would skip the ones that didn't have pictures that clearly show the house. They wouldn't be worth wasting my time on just to see if I liked them.

***
My BIL (a realtor) is seeing fewer walkthroughs, but the ratio of offers to walkthroughs is higher. Sales are steady, but he's doing less driving.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 10:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
kats_meow

I think you make a good point. On the other hand, I sometimes realized I've gone wrong when I think people are like me.

I always look at pictures and will avoid houses with insufficient pictures unless the house is in a perfect location and seems otherwise promising.

Also before going and setting an appointment to look at houses I drive by the house from the outside to just get a visual and to see the neighborhood (end up rejecting a lot of houses this way...sometimes the house on listings is fine but the neighborhood isn't or there is something nearby that is a deal breaker.)

That said...not sure that everyone is as picky as I am. When we had our house on the market the last 10 or so feedbacks we received were all about not liking our layout. Now, the layout was clear from the pictures and the virtual tour. So who knows how much they looked at pictures? If they had looked at the virtual tour the layout was clearcut.

That said, I remember once when I went and looked at a house that was in the listing as having 4 bedrooms and having a garage apartment. Most listings that do this have 4 bedrooms in the house plus the garage apartment. We get all the way there and it is 3 bedrooms in the house plus the garage apartment. This made that house totally useless to us unless we were going to evict one of our children.
What is the point of being so misleading? (On the other hand, I once talked to an agent about this kind of thing who said that surprisingly often people do end up buying something that doesn't meet their stated criteria when they end up falling in love with a house).

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 1:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
worthy

If it can all be done electronically today, why are so many homes listed with insufficient info?

Lazy agents.

Despite the widespread use of the internet--more than 70% of homebuyers say it's an important part of the process--nothing beats a real world walkthrough. However, on our last sale I was surprised at the numbers who evidently hadn't bothered to look at all the high-resolution on-line photos and videos. They came clutching their black and white MLS photocopies. A few charmers walked into the front lobby, spun around, snorted and walked out.

I found our current place strictly on-line, first "walking" the streets with Google. I barely glanced at the home when I visited it. But I only missed a few rooms.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 4:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
foggyj

kats meow, that's what out realtor told us. You never know what people will compromise with, after they see a house. We also had a showing where the woman wanted a more open space. Well, our pictures clearly show what the house looks like, but, according to the agent, it never hurts to show it!
BTW, the pictures were taken by a person who DOES real estate pictures. They were taken with a wide angle lens, which, in my opinion, distorts the rooms. I hope people realize it.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 4:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
steve_o

They came clutching their black and white MLS photocopies. A few charmers walked into the front lobby, spun around, snorted and walked out.

When we were shopping, my agent handed us paper copies of the houses we were visiting before we got to the door -- even if we'd pored over every bit of the on-line MLS listings.

Unfortunately, all too many of those pictures -- the crummy black-and-white ones and the full-color on-line ones -- were lousy pictures. Or missed key features of the house. Or there weren't enough of them. Most real estate agents have a lot to learn about taking good pictures.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2011 at 8:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jane__ny

We sold our house a year ago and are now shopping for one. We are on both ends of the spectrum. I spend hours looking at online photos and layouts. I make a list and do drive-bys. I am always amazed at how deceptive the photos are. They don't show or mention the house is on a highway, railroad, shopping mall. They don't show horrible property, steep hill, rock, no usable property.

I might have 10 houses on my list. After drive-bys we might look at 5. We are looking in the area we live in now. I can't imagine traveling a distance to see houses and find the photos are misleading.

Layouts can also be misleading. The photos might show an open floor plan but when we walk in, we discover a staircase from the front door (high ranch style). All the photos were taken from the back of the house. No foyer. Walk in the door and you are in the living room. I would never buy a house without a foyer.

You can't shop on-line. Photos are misleading and only point out features the Realtor wants showcased. The only way you can shop for a house is to see it in real life.

Jane

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 11:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
thatgirl2478

jane's right!

For example:

Saw a PERFECT house listing - approx 25 photos - provided a floor plan w/ room dimensions & additional photos. House was EXACTLY what we wanted (3500 sqft of early 1900's craftsman ship - BEAUTIFUL original details).

Went to see the house - plaster falling everywhere, paper peeling off the walls and MOLD (severe) in the basement.

Seeing the house online is NO substitution for seeing it in person.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2011 at 2:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
orv1

The best reason for using online RE sites is to rule out properties. Especially if you have a specific want that is not negotiable.

With us we were buying a lake house, view was the #1 thing we were looking for, and it wasn't negotiable. Easy to rule out many properties this way.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 12:13PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
Happyladi

I suggest always looking at the house on Zillow. It will be easy to see how close it is to a highway or shopping area.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2011 at 5:09PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
fightingoverfinishes

If a house looks good in photos I will want to check it out. Even though some of my on-line favorites from our last house hunt ended up being awful in person.

On the other hand if there are no photos or only outside photos I assume the inside is so bad they don't want you to see it. In this case I would not add that house to my list (of homes to visit).

I always assume that if you only have a few photos there s nothing nice about your home.
If we end up listing our home in a few months I will do everything possible to make a full and acurate description of my home with photos. I don't want to waste the buyers time or my time.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 8:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chispa

Agree with Jane. There is no substitute for seeing a house in person. We recently rented a house before buying our home. They just listed the rental house for sale and the agent did a fantastic job on the photos. I lived in that house for 6 months and know for a fact that it doesn't look as good in person! The photos even made me want to go take a walk through it! lol.

The house needs quite a bit of work, things you won't realize till you live there for a few months. The older part of the house has no AC, so it gets really hot in the living room. The upstairs floor is very squeaky, insulation needs to be updated, etc.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2011 at 9:31PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ottawavalleygardener

I agree with hapyladi about this ("I suggest always looking at the house on Zillow. It will be easy to see how close it is to a highway or shopping area")... assuming Zillow is like Google maps. I select both Street View and the satelite view (zooming in) which is what I use to see how many trees are on the property, how close the neighbours are, etc.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 6:57AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
maurenemm

A couple of you mentioned skipping houses with few or no pics. That is my instinct too but I can't help wondering/hoping that maybe I'd find a diamond in the rough or get a very good deal on those homes. Perhaps they just have a lazy realtor. The odds are probably against it, but you never know for sure.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 9:05AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
badgergrrl

Don't rely too heavily on Google or Zillow (which uses Google's info), those images are not updated too frequently, unless you're in major urban areas. Our "street view" shows a car in the driveway that we haven't owned for over 4 years.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 11:29AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
ottawavalleygardener

Even a few years out of date, I'd still use google satellite view & street view, since it would give a heads-up on the landfill site a km away, and how the neighbourhood has no trees. I like to see how the property fits with the others, which the satellite view does wonderfully.

P.S. It's also fun just to see your own neighbourhood, looking into peoples' back yards :-)

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 1:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bedfordfred

"A couple of you mentioned skipping houses with few or no pics. That is my instinct too but I can't help wondering/hoping that maybe I'd find a diamond in the rough or get a very good deal on those homes. Perhaps they just have a lazy realtor. The odds are probably against it, but you never know for sure."

This is the case with the house we are buying. It's a foreclosure.

- Listing description says almost nothing about the house itself, but instead about terms and conditions of the foreclosure.

- Pictures look like they were taken with a foggy cell phone camera.

- Pictures show house filled with trash.

I'm sure most buyers were turned off by this listing, but not us. We discovered an extremely well built, 5 year old house with some incredible features the listing agent was too lazy to describe. Sure it needs some cosmetics, but for a few grand in touchups, we'll have an instant extra 50k in equity.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 1:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
LoveInTheHouse

The more information that's on the Internet, the better. If people aren't walking through, it could be either thing that you mentioned--it's over-priced or the realtor is not doing his job in some way. I was very interested in a house I saw online. I thought I'd get better service if I called the listing agent directly. I called him two or three times and he never returned my calls. Finally I got another agent to take me to it and we bought it. Even during the negotiations, we couldn't get the listing agent to get the work done fast enough. Ask your agent what he's doing. Look at your competition honestly and figure out if you're over-priced. But it's not the Internet. That's only going to help you. It won't keep serious buyers away.

    Bookmark   April 13, 2011 at 11:49PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
chrisk327

Google and Zillow may be 4 years out of date, but will tell 90% of the story for me anyway.

for one, is it a corner property? what is its proximaty to major street, size of the backyard, proximity to other houses, what's accross the street from it.

I live in a developed area, most things don't change too much, and generally aren't changing for the better, so it is definitely helpful to see basically where the house is in relation to other things on the streets

    Bookmark   April 14, 2011 at 5:50PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Help, quick! VA Loan Problems?
My friend is selling her home. She's received two...
jewelisfabulous
Hall bathroom with claw foot tub, garden view but no shower.
We have a 4 bd, 3 bath house that I am getting ready...
gwarring
Real Estate Agent Fees
My nephew is selling his condo, the agent that is selling...
enjoyingspring
Questions for buying a home with a septic system
I just came across an interesting article about issues...
cbrooks42
something to check when buying a home (pets/carpet)
something i wish i'd checked out before purchasing...
kiki_redo
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™