Everyone knows of Zillow.com… Where does it fit into accomplishing your home buying and selling goals?
My name is Torey (some call me "T") and I help urbanites (like yourself), who are interested in buying and selling real estate; connect the dot's between the stuff have have already seen online or in the real world, to the actual information and processes they need to achieve their real estate goals in today’s markets.
When you think of real estate, what do you think of? Zillow maybe? Well if you are like most Americans, that is exactly the case. Most of the general public utilizes this website, as well as various similar websites, to better understand real estate in their areas. This is an amazing tool for the wide portion of the population that wants to educate themselves. For the people actually buying or selling homes, where do you draw that line in the sand and call a real estate agent?
First and foremost, let’s break down the real benefits of Zillow to the wide population…
For home buyers and sellers, Zillow is great because it let’s you see the open market with relative ease. You can begin to draw a generic picture of what your house is worth, or what you want to buy in a certain area. Another benefit to sellers is you can list your own house for free on the site and get it exposure in the event you wanna dabble in the FSBO route.
The best way to really define when to call an agent is by telling this recent story from a recent gentleman I met. This story is what inspired this post.
This weekend, at an open house, I ran into a kind gentleman and struck up conversation about his home search. The gentleman was surfing Zillow for weeks, saw average price per square foot numbers, and assumed the the property had been salivating for all this time was overpriced because it cost more on a $ per square foot basis than the rest of the market. This gentleman ended up not putting in an offer on the house because he thought it was overpriced. Issue was, the property was priced perfectly and went under contract a few days later. Now he is kicking himself in the butt because a good opportunity went by the wayside.
See the problem is, Zillow brought him 90% of the way there. It informed the gentleman of plenty of market statistics, market information, and inventory levels. The one thing it did not provide this gentleman was market insight; Which in my opinion, is by-far the most critical information you actually need. Currently, we are experiencing a time where consumers are armed with so much information, that they don’t even know what to do with. Consumer’s now feel like professionals because of what they can access online. The only problem with this is any technology does not have the insight or acumen needed to interpret the real world variables that drive the data the site curates.
In the instance, this gentleman’s logic was flawed. The average $ per square foot sold, does not take into effect the intangible items that greatly affect home prices, such as layout, light, craftsmanship, marketing quality, etc. Only humans can decipher this information and really draw accurate conclusions to provide more meaningful advice.
With this being noted, Zillow and all of the other online real estate websites should only be your first step in the real estate buyer and seller lifecycle. The goal should be to educate yourself on the local real estate market so you can get a broader understanding to better define your needs and the price associated with those needs.
If you are utilizing these websites beyond this point, unless you are a lone FSBO warrior, you are doing yourself a disservice and being ineffective. You are wasting your time, efforts, and energy studying information that may not be relevant to your needs or current market conditions.
Still as of Summer 2016, there is no better tool that can replace actual human representation of your needs. This is, of course, assuming you want to spend the least amount of money, and have the highest results.
What have your experiences been like with Zillow?
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