|The Internet is "Cool" for Real Estate
What's "cool" about the Internet is that there is so much information available, including information about real estate. You can read online articles about how to buy a house, sell a house, getting a mortgage, local communities, and more.
Especially cool is that now you can do something that (in the "olden days") only Realtors could do. You can see all the listings on the web.
Practically all of them, anyway.
...and online listing information isn't always the most current data available, especially on some of the bigger national sites, but still...
...it is a LOT of information.
And it is cool.
As you're looking at listings, typing in search parameters, hitting your back button and your forward button looking for deals in different communities, trying to find the home that fits you....
...time just flies by.
You click and scroll until you find yourself looking at the same property more than once. Not all the listings have photos, so you skip by those. The online listings you like most have LOTS of photos - the view of each room, the view out the front window, the view of the back and front of the property, and so on.
After a while, you begin to skip the "virtual tours" because they are so SLOW that they bore you. Clicking on pictures is so much faster.
At some point, you want to know "more."
So you send an email to a listing agent, perhaps. Maybe it is a property in a community you know or it is a property clear across the country, but you are genuinely interested in getting more information about that particular home.
Maybe you do this on several properties to several different agents.
Two days go by and nobody answers you. Not one response.
Believe it or not, most Realtors still are not used to the web and email. Some are though (hint, hint).
If you think the above is just a made-up scenario, it is not. A very web-savvy individual was relocating far away and described the above experience (only in much more vivid detail).
Plus, there is more.
Since not all Realtors are used to the web, they don't all have a digital camera so they can take photos of property for upload. Of those that do, it often costs extra to put multiple photos on the web.
As a result, if you were to look at several different real estate sites (like our web-savvy friend did) you may find that multiple sites will display the listing, but one may have no photos, one site may have one photo, and another site will display multiple photos.
You may have skipped something great.
Heck, a listing may not even display on the web. Or it may already be sold, but it displays as an active listing, or it may be a new listing that isn't on the web yet.
In short, the web is behind. That data isn't always current.
So yes, the web is "cool." More info is available, but there are also limitations.
Those limitations are unwelcome, but in this beginning stage of the home hunt, you still want to be independent and you enjoy that independence.
But after awhile, it can be frustrating, too.
What you need is a "mentor" - someone who respects your independence but will answer your emails and phone calls promptly, someone who can tell you more about a particular property, someone who can tell you if it is overpriced or if it is a "make-sense" purchase. Someone who can tell you when a "three bedroom home" is actually two bedrooms and a study (there is a difference).
That mentor is your local real estate agent.
You still get to do the "fun" part, but don't have to deal with the frustration that comes when you need more information or get ready to act.