Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hey, Can my computer find my next house?

Ah, the wonders of technology - How far we have all come.  Today you can search for your home, locate it on a map, get a low aerial photo, even take a tour of the home all without leaving the comfort of your computer screen.  In some instances your tour is 3-dimensional and allows you to alter the furniture, the flooring and the color of the walls!  Pretty Freaky I know.
So, all of this can obviously help you locate a home that you may be interested in, but does it locate the home you want to live in?  Probably not.  It may get you close, but as your real estate professional I would have to tell you to go drive the neighborhood as well as walk through the house!  Until they create a Scratch and Sniff real estate website where you can get a better appreciation for that carpet, perhaps you will still need to walk through the house.

We can also look at some of these auto valuation models that are out there.  You know what I'm talking about - hitting one of those websites where it tells you the approximate value of the home.  You need to be careful here, we all need to be careful here.  First of all, they all pretty much call them "estimates", and they all recommend that this value or number is not a replacement for an appropriate appraisal.  Most of these companies will even tell you that they can be off by as much as 25% in their estimates.  I believe these things can be good guides in consumers determining potential value in a home, but should not be substituted for a real estate agent.  We just have too much access to additional information that is more timely than these "estimators".  For example, our MLS will post a closing and the sales price on a property within a day or two of it closing.  An auditor has many functions and it can take several weeks before it is posted in the public forum, they're just too busy to keep up.

My recommendations for buyers or sellers today - use the internet to find out as much as you can about what is going on in your area.  But confirm your findings with your agent so that you can be confident in the value of that home.  An accurately priced home will sell faster than one trying to go for top dollar - that will be true in any market.  (Sounds obvious, I know, but worth saying). 

Chris WoodREALTOR®
Mobile:  (513) 382-2474
Email:  Chris@chrisjwood.com
Web:  www.chrisjwood.com
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