Do you remember how surprised people were when they learned that more than 50 % of people were going online to do research on real estate? The writing being on the proverbial wall was an indicator of things to come.
That figure is well above 90% today as more online data is available, and becoming a source that consumers rely on.
There is a big downside though in that much of the online information should not be relied upon; let the buyer beware! Let me give you a few examples.
1. The national media reports that Canada’s real estate market has remained static from the previous year. So how can this help you? Well it probably can’t, and whatever is going on in the North Vancouver market will have nothing to do with what is going on in East Vancouver, let alone markets in other provinces.
All real estate is hyper-local, so you need to know what is going on in the specific area you are interested in.
2. A listing you see on Realtor.ca (formerly MLS.ca) for a 2-bedroom apartment seems to be well priced compared to others. The problem is that it is actually a one bedroom and den. This is just one of the dozens of examples of listing discrepancies.
3. You are online going through the open houses in a particular area and print the information on those properties you are going to view. As you are viewing, you really like what you see in one of these listings so you start talking to the listing REALTOR®.
Chances are you have just made a big mistake, and quite possibly compromised your bargaining situation. When people visit a sales office of a new development without a REALTOR®, same thing.
These simple examples barely scratch the surface of the perils of going alone in real estate without a REALTOR®.
Because you have spent an inordinate amount of time on the Internet putting pieces together does not make you an expert. I have met some extremely intelligent people who thought they were experts, when they should have known better.
Very savvy people, far too many, have bad experiences. It sure makes one wonder if they also self diagnose their health issues from the thousands of online medical sources, after all, who needs a doctor?
Seriously though, if you want to perform some real estate research I would strongly recommend that you invest the time to find a hyper-local REALTOR® best suited to help you protect your best interests.
Until the real estate industry gets “with it” and adopts online REALTOR® ratings, you have little choice.
Are you looking for an expert in buying or selling? Each scenario requires a different set of interview questions,
Email me if you want some of the tough interview questions.