I know I’ve used this analogy while chatting with clients but haven’t posted about it before. Reading Richard Weisser’s article about the Proliferation of Internet Real Estate Information inspired me to post so thanks Richard!
Internet home searches really are like online dating for real estate. Now, I have to say I’ve never personally used an online dating service (and I’m married so it’d be highly inappropriate for me to try one out now) but I get the basic premise and know some people who have used them.
Internet home searches and online dating sites are tools that can be used to get an idea of options but in both cases, at some point you’ll have to see if those “perfect online matches” are really as great as they seem.
Sometimes an option you saw online will be even better in person and in other cases you’ll start to wonder exactly how old those photos were or what kind of creative photography was used!
Moving from a purely internet home search to the in person phase starts the evaluation process, or the real life compatibility challenge.
The real life evaluation of more than just pretty photos. What’s it like driving to the house, how has it been maintained, what’s surrounding it that wasn’t readily visible online, how does it FEEL to walk in and through the place? Questions you can’t answer by seeing something online.
Then of course there’s the negotiating process when you decide on “the one”, the inspection phase or “background check” on the place. All leading up to you making a commitment as that house’s next homeowner.
Buying a home IS a big commitment (kinda like exclusively dating or marrying someone is a commitment). These days, be prepared to commit to that house for AT LEAST five years or more.
Internet home searches are a great place to start and you can access a TON of information without leaving your couch, but when you’re ready to really start evaluating options and move forward with your home search it’s going to take some up close and personal time and effort.
I absolutely love online home searches, and honestly don’t think I’ve ever had a buyer who hasn’t used them in some form or another. It’s not uncommon for my buyers to send me listings they found online and ask for more info on them. I don’t take offense to that, I know they search online and I have no problem looking into what they’ve seen (accuracy and currency of info is sometimes woefully lacking)
The cool part about internet home searching is that you can access the information and browse even if you don’t plan on buying a home right now. Here’s my local home search – Search Charlotte NC Area Homes For Sale. Go ahead and have fun. Browse and search all you want. You don’t need to hire me or any other agent to search for homes online.
I wrote a post a while ago on What Exactly Do Real Estate Agents Do Anyway? so I won’t get into that here.
It’s what happens after and beyond the internet home searching that’s at the heart of buying a home. Just like you might say it’s the real life meetings with online “dating matches” that’s at the heart of embarking on a new relationship.
Copyright©2010 by Diane McDermott, All Rights Reserved, “Internet Home Searches are Like Online Dating”