Friday, February 7, 2014

Do Online Home Search Sites Serve Buyers Well?

I listed for rent a mid century modern three bedroom home in mid country Greenwich yesterday.  I know the word "organic" is so overused these days but this time it fits.  Raised on feet so it's arching over Putnam Lake, this Frank Lloyd Wright-esque house features walls of windows and sleek architecture.  So I wasn't surprised that a young urban and her fiancé called today to come view it.

What did surprise me was what she was looking at online when she called me to view it.  She found the listing on her own, using one of the top real estate websites (Zillow, Trulia or Realtor.com).  On the listing that she saw were OLD PHOTOS from when the property was listed prior to my owner's purchasing it.  

Somehow, the website had taken our new listing and paired it with what they had "in the can" from last year.  With 88% of buyers starting their home searches on line, we realtors hear, "But (take your pick here: Zillow, Trulia or Realtor.com) said…" .  And while online sites can be a very easy way to do a broad search, they are not a realtor nor do they have all of the tools available to realtors.  

So the wrong photos was yesterday morning's scramble to the online site.  Today, I went on their site and discover NO photos of my listing.  Back to the customer service help line at 9 a.m.

One last note if you are a buyer coming unrepresented, having seen a listing on your own online:  Realtors are all about making your experience as positive as it can be and we will do everything we can to be helpful.  We are not representing you so we cannot give you our opinion of value, thoughts on the property vs. other options available, etc. unless you authorize us to represent you as well (this is called dual agency)   When a buyer or renter comes without a realtor, he/she is not always doing  himself the best service.  A good realtor can bring a lot to the table: experience, market knowledge, negotiating strength.   

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