Today’s homebuyer has a powerful ally helping to find that new home. Real estate apps have popped up for every mobile device. They help to streamline the process by eliminating properties you know you don’t want to see and won’t consider buying. They save your time by not driving from house to house unproductively. These downloadable apps try to offer you the most up-to-date listings, information and offer details about the property, photos, and prices, updated regularly as they change. You can even have the app alert you if a home comes on the market in the price range or area you desire. The previous generation of home buyers did not have anything like this available.
Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, realtor.com, homes.com all offer information about homes and seem like a one stop shop in your home buying experience, but beware there are some downfalls on only relying on apps and websites.
- Some apps and websites may appear to have many listings because they have not sorted out older ones that have been taken off the market, kept them up-to-date, or you may have set your heart on a property which has already been sold.
- You may see a property listed as pre-foreclosure or foreclosure, and these properties may never make it on the open market for buyers to access. They may be sold at Sheriff’s auction.
- When properties come on the market, the broker may have buyer clients who are an exact fit for it. In that case, a buyer who is already working with a broker has a clear advantage over an internet looker.
- The internet user who has no relationship with an agent, will never be the first to know when their dream home is available.
The real moral of this story is: Real estate apps are educational and fun. They provide a lot of information that help a buyer ask good questions. They help inform the buyer about prices in an area. They let you know what is available in a given real estate market, and how fast homes are moving from the time they are listed.
While apps are a great supplement to your home buying experience, they cannot take the place of a good working relationship with your real estate agent. When it comes to seeing, experiencing, and really knowing a prospective property, you need “boots on the ground”. This is where your real estate agent shines. He or she can lead you through the steps of financing, researching, and purchasing your new home, they’re committed by contract to work for you, helping you through the process, representing your interests and communicating with sellers on your behalf.