Should I Shop for My Home Online?

It’s hard to remember what life was like before the internet. To think that there was a time when you had to lose yourself in an accordion map just to make it to the beach seems comical, simply because all of the information we could ever need is readily available at our fingertips. Now we tell our phone where we want to go, and it will happily guide us from our driveway to our destination while offering restaurant suggestions along the way.

Vetting purchases online isn’t relegated to clothing and technology. Consumers are turning to real estate sites like Zillow to help them find their next home, and relying on virtual tours and slideshows to help familiarize themselves with the property. But can you get a good grasp of a listing from a website alone?

Why It Pays to See Listings in Person

Professional photographers make good money for a reason: understanding how to use lighting, composition, and angles to enhance an image is an art form. Seeing is believing, and a wide-angle lens can make a broom closet look amazing. Plus, photos and virtual tours only offer a visual reference. Rarely will you find photos of the neighbor’s adjoining property, or their extensive collection of inflatable holiday decor.

Working with an experienced local realtor will allow you to get see the whole picture, not just the positives. Your realtor protects your best interests, and offers an unbiased perspective on the property. For example, if you’ve mentioned that maintenance-free living is a top priority, your realtor will show you listings located within an inclusive community. If you have your heart set on a waterfront property, your realtor will exclude farmland and suburban neighborhoods.

There’s no harm in perusing the internet for real estate listings, but when you’re serious about buying a home, there’s no substitute for an experienced local realtor.