Kathy Foran - REALTY EXECUTIVES Boston West

Posted by Kathy Foran on 2/19/2017

Realtors recognize the value of an online presence. Evidence of this is the number of realtor websites. Online or virtual real estate connections are great ways to meet home buyers. They are also a great way to introduce people shopping for new houses to improved properties. Virtual tours of the interior and exterior of houses, room square footage and a list of amenities are added to realtor websites, offering a real time search and review of different houses.

Three reasons why you may not want to house shop online

People looking to buy houses can check out available houses without logging a lot of miles on their vehicle. There’s no need to schedule an appointment with a realtor to tour the houses. The need to attend several open houses is also removed with the online approach. Admittedly, shopping for a house online is an effective way to shorten the list of houses you’d seriously consider buying. But, there are three key drawbacks to shopping for a house online.

First of the three key drawbacks to shopping for a house online is a false sense of knowledge. Look at a dozen or more houses online and you might think that you know what to look for in a house. You also might start to believe that just because you took a video tour of every room in the house, including the attic and the basement, that you saw everything about the house. Yet, there is a lot that a video can miss, even if the quality of the video is stellar. Lighting may hide structural damage, cracks and wall discolorations. You won’t know if a house has suffered flood damage or if the roof shingles need to be replaced. You also won’t get to test electrical outlets or the plumbing.

Second, if you limit your house shopping to online searches, you’ll miss the all-important opportunity to check out the neighborhood. While browsing websites online, you can’t meet and talk with neighbors. You could take a virtual tour of the neighborhood. You could research area demographics, crime statistics and school ratings. But, you can’t drive through the neighborhood at different times of day and night, measuring the level of tranquility and noise.

The third drawback to online house shopping has to do with you and your core. Online searches may make it harder to grasp how you feel while you’re actually inside a house. A property may look and read well online. Get to the house and you might get an eerie or uncomfortable feeling. That could happen if the house feels too cold or hollow to you.

Convenience aside, if you limit yourself to shopping for a house online, there’s a lot that you could miss about a house. You wouldn’t know why sellers put their house on the market. You also wouldn’t see small structural problems. To save yourself a future headache, start a house search online. But, broaden the search to offline property visits. This way, you can ask the current homeowners important questions. It’s the answers to these questions that could reveal whether a house is truly worth your investment.

Posted by Kathy Foran on 10/30/2016

Smart online house hunting actions save money and more. Face it; searching for the right house is time consuming, requiring detailed thought, clarity and patience. The more clearly you visualize what you want in a house, not only structurally but also in regards to the amenities that you want, the better you can communicate these details to your realtor. It certainly is an improvement over the way house hunting worked years ago when you would search a newspaper or realtor paper listing to find homes for sale. It was that or ask colleagues, friends and relatives to let you know about houses that they’d seen for sale in neighborhoods where you want to live. Let Technology Improve Your House Hunting Efforts Thanks to technology, you can shorten the house hunting process by searching for your next home online. Real estate agencies and real estate listing services include exterior and interior photos of houses that they are selling. Click on videos that are included with real estate listings. Depending on how the real estate agency sets up its homes for sale listings, you can search for houses by zip code, size, price and type. To get a good visual feel, you may be able to walk through available homes online similar to how you would physically walk through a unit during an open house. Start your online house hunting by watching videos that focus on the house’s curb appeal. Pay attention to the size and condition of the lawn, the front walkway and the porch. Notice if the current homeowners have put enough care into their house to plant flowers or greenery outside. Homeowners who take special care of their exterior property likely invest in their home's interior. Then, follow the video into the foyer or living room. Features to consider include how far the front door is from the stairs, if the house has an open floor plan, if the floor is carpeted, hardwood or tile and the types of windows in the house. Check out the bedrooms and bathrooms. Are there any en-suites? What about a master bathroom? Some houses are built with the washer and dryer in the bathroom or kitchen. If you want a separate laundry room, you’ll want to note the location of washer and dryer hookups as you continue your online house hunting. If there’s an option to connect with a realtor via chat as you engage in online house hunting, consider doing so. It’s a good way to get your questions answered in real time. If you’re not in a hurry to move, you could explore five to ten a week online. Create a spreadsheet, listing each house’s features, room sizes, amenities and costs, so that you can compare houses side by side. After you narrow the numbers of houses that you’re serious about buying down to ten or fewer, reach out to your realtor. Determine how much you can afford to spend on a house before you travel with your realtor to view the first house. This includes knowing how much you are willing to contribute to closing costs and how much you can put down on the house. Online house hunting could help to take guesswork out of finding a new home while saving you gas money, time and frustration.