The downsides to online house hunting

23 November 2021 | Life Style

Although there are thousands of online property listings available to anyone who is looking for real estate, it can be incredibly frustrating to swipe through listing after listing online and not find anything that has the potential of being your dream home. The reason behind this is that purchasing a home is often an emotional decision that cannot be syndicated through a screen.
Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, says that most buyers need to walk through a few properties in person before they can find a home they are willing to make an offer on. “While online listings can help buyers get an idea of what is out there, in-person viewings should be arranged once the buyer is ready to purchase.”
According to Goslett, searching for homes has become so easy with property portals that many start browsing online long before they are in a position to buy. “This sometimes makes it tricky for buyers to find a property they like once they are finally ready to purchase. Over-priced listings are all too common, which can lead buyers to falsely believe that they cannot afford the home that they want. But, if buyers set up a meeting with a real estate professional, they will be able to find out if a home is overpriced or if a seller is willing to negotiate, which could open a whole new set of opportunities to them that they otherwise never would have known existed,” Goslett advises.
Another downside to online listings is the possibility that the home does not live up to its photos. “It is easy to hide flaws in listing photos. It is also impossible to get a feel for the layout and flow of the home based on photos alone. To avoid this kind of disappointment, buyers should think critically about the photos and consider what might be lying just outside of the shot. Good listings will have a large number of photos taken from multiple angles of every room in the house and might even include a walk-through video,” says Goslett.
Those who have been unlucky through their online house hunting efforts should shift their search from virtual into reality. “Homes are most-often bought based on an emotional connection. Sometimes all it takes is to walk into a property to know that this is the place for you,” Goslett advises.
This is a part of the reason that the need for real estate agents will always exist. “There have been and probably will always be the so-called ‘online disruptors’ in our market. But, while there are certain drawcards to online real estate models, the need for a more personal level of service of professional estate agencies will always exist,” Goslett concludes.

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