The Internet has brought us many advantages, not the least of which is information when we need it. In the real estate arena, prospective home buyers can access the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and browse homes in what they assume to be their price range and in the locales they ideally would like to live.
Is shopping for homes on your own a good idea? Yes, and no.
A recent article in the San Jose Mercury News pointed out that almost 90 percent of people searching for homes begin their searches online. Most are thus engaged for six months before contacting a Realtor. What information do they gain with this activity?
With the speed at which homes are getting sold in Silicon Valley these days, the information property surfers acquire is often about homes that are long gone by the time they get serious about their pursuit. But in their defense, prospective home buyers are able to use the Internet to determine general price ranges of homes in various communities and compare amenities found in homes of like-prices.
The problem with this approach – assuming the individual is truly intent on finding a home to buy – is that while there’s a lot of information about real estate on the Web, much of it can translate into misinformation in the hands of a person who isn’t thoroughly familiar with the local market and its current trends.
Enter the Realtor
This is why eager and committed home seekers consult Realtors. Of course there’s nothing wrong with scanning the MLS and getting a “feel” for the “lay of the land” before entering a partnership with a real estate professional, but that “feel” will supply only a fraction of what buyers need to know in the insanely competitive market we have in Silicon Valley.
When I begin working with a buyer, I listen closely to what she’s looking for in a home and what she expects from its surrounding community. I take into account her projected budget and down payment amount. These and other details help me point her in the right direction rather than allowing her to wander aimlessly through the market as she would likely do without guidance.
Because of my extensive knowledge of Silicon Valley homes as well as commercial activity, commute times, school systems, planned developments, negotiation strategies and, perhaps most importantly, what happened in the real estate market yesterday that could affect matters today, I’m able to provide a level of advice that no website – including my own – ever could.
Real estate moves fast here. Buyers who jump around window-shopping online aren’t helping themselves get into that ideal home any faster, though they may think they are. This is particularly true of younger, first-time home buyers, who have been raised on the Internet and believe it’s the key to their futures. Seasoned home buyers know that the Internet is at best a supplement to a home-search game plan managed by a professional Realtor.
In our climate of fast sales, a widening gap between sale price and list price, intense bidding wars and increasingly complicated transactions, a person who is serious about buying a home should consult a Realtor earlier rather than later. This way you stand a far better chance of getting the type of home you want in a community that meets your needs in the most timely and efficient manner possible.
If you want to know more about Silicon Valley homes and how to use current trends to your advantage, call me at (650) 947-2942. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and tell you how I can help.