Thanks to the Internet, we are more connected, better informed and more efficient too. That goes for us as individuals, but also as buyers, sellers and agents as well. Past sales data, current listings, virtual tours, photos and floor plans are all available on a single web page, and that helps everyone involved in a transaction to benefit from the power of instant information.
Of course, not all websites are created equal, and not every participant knows how to properly harness the opportunities offered by the Web. Agents to this day are relying on blurry cell-phone-camera photographs to help them sell their listings, and sellers are not vigilant in their monitoring of their listings for mistakes. Even yesterday I was with a client at a listing that was inaccessible because an agent had not answered her cell phone in a week and did not even know how to set up her voicemail. In a crowded market of tech-savvy agents and well-connected sellers, there really isn’t room for agents who can’t properly market their listings or, at the very least, be available by phone to respond to agent and buyer inquiries.
Buyers, too, have a responsibility to themselves to learn the differences in online information sources. While Trulia and Zillow are often quoted by major media outlets as the definitive sources of real estate data, the truth is that most of their listings contain inaccuracies. Most notably, Trulia and Zillow are notorious for posting listings as “Active” that have long since sold. Importantly, they also rarely post listings at the moment they are listed. This prevents a serious homebuyer from learning about a new home listing quickly enough to act on it, especially in a situation where there could be multiple offers.
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