House Hunting? Let Your Fingers Do the Browsing

L. Belenky asked:

Years ago finding a house was a full time job – for you and your real estate agent. Your agent would need to have a good understanding of what you were looking for. Once she felt she had a good idea, she would choose homes, set up appointments, and drive you there. Together you would assess how close her understanding was. If she was way off the mark, you both just wasted a lot of time and energy.

Once MLS (Multiple Listing Service) matured to the point that every real estate agency could put their listings online with multiple digital photos, long descriptions, contact information, and even Google maps to find the property, “finding a house” took on a whole new meaning.

Nowadays, most real estate agents are contacted by buyers who have already found homes online they are interested in. Their first question is no longer, “Can you help me find a house?” Now they ask, “I found three homes on your website. How can I get in to see them?”

These educated consumers no longer depend on the agent to know everything about every house. The buyer now knows as much as or even more than the agent does. The buyer can see the 360 degree photo tours, architectural drawings and floor plans, real photos of the front and back yard, and of course the all important kitchen and bathrooms.

On many websites banks and lenders have paid for advertising space and there are links to loan officers to talk about pre-qualification letters (a real handy document that agents and sellers love to see the buyers equip themselves with).

Not sure if you can afford the home? Use the handy mortgage calculator up there in the corner and play with some numbers. You might be better off than you think!

What’s new with online house hunting? Some savvy FSBOs (For Sale by Owners) have web cam access! If you still aren’t sure, you can “walk” through the property while sitting at your desk.

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Categories : Buying

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