The best tool to sell a house?
Technology has changed the way buyers look for property. Rather than contacting a Realtor first to find out what’s available in specific price ranges, many buyers start in the comfort of their own home on their computer.
“According to the National Association of Realtors, 92 percent of buyers start their search for homes online,” said Fran Stephens, marketing director of Bray Real Estate. “We cultivate the online experience and try to give buyers what they’re looking for. We put a virtual tour of every home online.”
Twenty years ago, real estate agents were the keepers of the information. Now, buyers can learn everything from the number of beds and bathrooms to the annual property tax on a specific property when they find the online listing. Rather than going to an agent with a vague list of amenities they want to find in a property, buyers are going to agents with a list of specific properties they want to see.
Some real estate companies are using QR codes, or “quick response” codes, that look similar to barcodes found on items in a grocery store to give customers information. The QR code may look like a black and white square maze but is actually a smart phone app. Potential buyers with smart phones can scan the code to launch the home’s website and learn more information about the home. Those who sell QR code technology are certain that it will be the next big thing to revolutionize real estate sales.
Every buyer doesn’t have a smart phone, however, and not every smart phone owner has the necessary app to read the QR code. In a printed ad, the QR code takes valuable space where other information could be. Although some real estate agents are sold on the technology, most of them realize the buying public is slow to catch on or appreciate it.
Although a few buyers purchase a home without ever seeing it, most are not comfortable purchasing real estate the same way they’d buy a book from Amazon.com. When buying a home, most buyers want to walk through a home and see the neighborhood.
“There’s no substitute for a buyer and an agent touring a home,” said Ross Beede with Coldwell Banker.
A good real estate professional understands it’s not just the information she provides that gives value, but the relationship she develops with her clients. Buyers and sellers need to be able to trust the person who is handling the purchase or sale of one of the biggest investments many buyers make.
Buyers also rely on agents to guide them through the entire negotiation and contract process, which can be tricky in today’s market. A contract usually includes multiple deadlines for title work, appraisals, and property inspections, through which the Realtor can guide buyers.
Although the number of homes that get sold because of an open house may be small, it does occasionally happen. More importantly, attending an open house can be a great way for buyers to see what’s available in a certain price ranges in specific neighborhoods. Evaluating a property first hand is important, especially if the home is bank-owned or has bank-owned properties nearby. Views, neighborhoods and other amenities are sometimes best appreciated first-hand. Open houses also work well in brand new subdivisions, allowing buyers to see a completed model home rather than a drawing and a framed-in building.
For real estate professionals, hosting an open house can be a great way to show a property to other agents as well as to a large number of people who may just tell their friends and family about a house they saw, if the house is interesting, a good deal or the friend is in the market.
The Grand Valley Open House Weekend, which will be next weekend, April 28 and 29, gives buyers a great opportunity to see multiple homes and do a little comparison shopping. The Daily Sentinel will publish an open house preview on Friday, April 27, which will include listings of homes which will be available for touring, so prospective buyers can map out their route and plan where they want to visit.
Although there will be a few brand new homes featured during the open house weekend, most of the homes are existing homes owned by those who live in the home rather than a bank, so they will be maintained and furnished, with existing landscape.
Yes, looky-loos are always welcome, as are those who are simply tired of their bathroom and wanting to get a little inspiration from someone else’s house.