Sunday, June 9, 2013

Most Buyers Look Online

When my wife and I bought our first house, we and our agent traipsed from listing to listing.  Rebecca and I hit the open houses hard, before and during the home buying experience.  There was a book with the MLS listings in them, it was thick and only agents and brokers got them.  I think they were updated every week.  That was 1991.  After we were done looking for the day, I went home and my computer told me "You've Got Mail."  (Obscure reference to then-dominant America On Line) and wondered if anybody was going to be as successful as Vanilla Ice.

Today, brokers usually don't do open houses.  On the other hand, Mr. Ice apparently works on them.  Still, I was surprised when one was held in my neighborhood last weekend.  I think it might have been the first in years around here.

You don't see these signs nearly as much as you used to.

What's taken the place of the Open House?   Looking at listings from the internet.  Each broker now puts their listings online.  You can also go to Zillow or Trulia.  Looking online lets you eliminate lots of properties quickly and narrow your visits to those who, on the surface at least, might work.

There is still no substitute for boots on the ground.  I was just driving through a neighborhood looking at listings from my car yesterday.  This is especially important for me because many of the listings I focus on only have one picture or none at all.  In addition to the listing, you need to get a feel for the neighborhood and the houses around it.

Thanks to the REIA of Macomb County for this helpful article: