Realtors recognize the value of an online presence. Evidence of this is the number of realtor websites. Online or virtual real estate connections are great ways to meet home buyers. They are also a great way to introduce people shopping for new houses to improved properties. Virtual tours of the interior and exterior of houses, room square footage and a list of amenities are added to realtor websites, offering a real time search and review of different houses.
Three reasons why you may not want to house shop online
People looking to buy houses can check out available houses without logging a lot of miles on their vehicle. There’s no need to schedule an appointment with a realtor to tour the houses. The need to attend several open houses is also removed with the online approach. Admittedly, shopping for a house online is an effective way to shorten the list of houses you’d seriously consider buying. But, there are three key drawbacks to shopping for a house online.
First of the three key drawbacks to shopping for a house online is a false sense of knowledge. Look at a dozen or more houses online and you might think that you know what to look for in a house. You also might start to believe that just because you took a video tour of every room in the house, including the attic and the basement, that you saw everything about the house. Yet, there is a lot that a video can miss, even if the quality of the video is stellar. Lighting may hide structural damage, cracks and wall discolorations. You won’t know if a house has suffered flood damage or if the roof shingles need to be replaced. You also won’t get to test electrical outlets or the plumbing.
Second, if you limit your house shopping to online searches, you’ll miss the all-important opportunity to check out the neighborhood. While browsing websites online, you can’t meet and talk with neighbors. You could take a virtual tour of the neighborhood. You could research area demographics, crime statistics and school ratings. But, you can’t drive through the neighborhood at different times of day and night, measuring the level of tranquility and noise.
The third drawback to online house shopping has to do with you and your core. Online searches may make it harder to grasp how you feel while you’re actually inside a house. A property may look and read well online. Get to the house and you might get an eerie or uncomfortable feeling. That could happen if the house feels too cold or hollow to you.
Convenience aside, if you limit yourself to shopping for a house online, there’s a lot that you could miss about a house. You wouldn’t know why sellers put their house on the market. You also wouldn’t see small structural problems. To save yourself a future headache, start a house search online. But, broaden the search to offline property visits. This way, you can ask the current homeowners important questions. It’s the answers to these questions that could reveal whether a house is truly worth your investment.