As my teams lead buyer’s agent I do nothing but show homes to buyers. I love it. I love seeing what the trends in homes are, stepping into someone else’s life for just a moment, helping people find their dream home. These same buyers are doing what everyone does when looking for a home they’re looking online. The number one site that buyers use for looking at new homes online is Zillow.
While I am all for buyers taking the bull by the horns and looking for new homes online it’s important to understand a few things about Zillow that differs from the current market. Buyers, for whatever the reason, are currently stuck in a time warp. They believe it’s still a buyer’s market. They believe they can still get screaming deals, that the market will move at their pace, that they can take their time to purchase a home. This is not the case. Sites like Zillow aren’t helping the cause.
Zillow usually has homes underpriced from five to fifteen thousand dollars. When a buyer looks up a home and Zillow gives them a price estimate and then they share with me what they think the price should be versus what it is on the market for it puts me in a corner. While Zillow might be great to find new homes it’s not a tool that should be used to determine a home’s value. The value is determined by the market and if the market says a home is worth X then the home is worth X.
The other thing my buyers love doing is sending me homes they found on Zillow. This is good and bad. It’s good because it shows me they want to find a home as badly as I want to find them a home; their active in their pursuit and it gives me a great visual of what they’re looking for. It’s bad because they send me multiple homes to review, which I do, and specific things they needed out of a home these homes don’t offer and can’t be filtered out through Zillow. I should note that I have yet to have a buyer send me a home on Zillow that was the home we closed on.
All in all I think Zillow is a fantastic tool to begin your search for a home. Once you’ve met an agent and he’s started to look for you it’s time to step away from Zillow and let your agent begin to work for you. Zillow is great to show you the amount of home selling in an area, a very basic understanding of what a neighborhood could sell for, and showing you the styles of homes available in a neighborhood. It’s not good for determining the right price, finding the perfect house that fits your needs, and it doesn’t carry the experience that your agent should have in the area you’re looking for.
When it comes to starting your home search use Zillow and use it freely to get a very good idea of what you’re looking for. When you’re ready to go out and start looking give me a call and we’ll see homes in person and I’ll really explain how this market works and why the price is what it is and what we can actually get the home for.
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