What Every Seller Should Know About Today’s Home Buyers

There are more ways to buy a home today than ever before. It’s crazy! In the past, people generally hired an agent or went it alone. Today, we still have those options but now there are many more choices down both paths. If you’re thinking about selling your home this year (or in the future) keep reading. This expert advice will help you better understand what’s happening in in the minds of today’s home buyers.

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Do you think home buyers will be able to find your home’s listing online?

Online Is Where It’s At

Today, everything is online. Agents know this. Buyers know it. Every home seller should know it too!

Online is the first place that anyone, who’s even remotely interested in buying a home, goes to look at listings. According to eBix MBA (who knew there was such a thing?) here are the Most Popular Real Estate Websites by traffic. The number is the estimated unique monthly visitors.

  1. Zillow – 36,000,000
  2. Trulia – 23,000,000
  3. Yahoo! – 20,000,000
  4. Realtor.com – 18,000,000
  5. Redfin – 6,000,000
  6. Homes.com – 5,000,000
  7. Apartment Guide – 2,500,000
  8. Curbed – 2,000,000
  9. Remax – 1,800,000
  10. HotPads.com – 1,750,000
  11. ZipRealty.com – 1,600,000
  12. Apartments.com – 1,500,000
  13. Rent.com – 1,400,000
  14. Auction.com – 1,300,000
  15. ForRent.com – 1,200,000

That’s a lot of traffic right? But I’ll let you in on a little secret. Most of these companies aren’t real estate companies… they’re tech companies. That’s right, both Zillow and Trulia (now owned by the same people) began as a dot.com endeavor. They just happened to target real estate vertical but are only now looking at their websites as anything more than ad platforms.

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Mobile is where it’s at! If you’re looking for Louisville real estate info, you’ve come to the right place.

What does that mean for home sellers? First, be aware that today’s home buyers have more information available online than they could possibly digest. Second, a large portion of this information is suspect. These websites get their data through syndication or worse—screen scraping—and it’s not always accurate or up-to-date.

Work with your local Realtor to get the correct numbers straight from your local MLS.

The Mortgage Process Isn’t Simple or Easy

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Getting a mortgage online might sound like a good idea but most often it’s better to meet with your loan specialist face to face.

The passage of the Dodd-Frank Act started American real estate markets down the path towards the housing recession that began in 2006. Since then, rules and regulations have become greater in number and stronger in force.

Getting a mortgage isn’t as simple as it once was.

Now, for people with good credit scores and even a decent down payment, it’s fairly straight forward. A quality lender does a great job of setting expectations and then walking you through the entire process. Don’t give up your dream of buying a new home simply due to the new hassles found in getting a mortgage. At the same time, home sellers need to understand that if they want to sell, they need to only entertain offers from qualified buyers.

Expert Realtors understand this and work to make sure all the ducks are in a row. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage isn’t rocket science. But it is essential in our current market.

Social Media Can Trick You

For most things in life, there are pros and cons. If you are selling your home, it’s likely that your Realtor is talking up their social media prowess. After all, time spent on social media for most Americans continues to skyrocket.

Here’s the trick. You might think, “Hey, there are tons of people on Facebook right now. So, I’ll promote my home that’s for sale. That’ll get me a quick sale, right?” Wrong.

Yes, people are there. But that’s not why they’re there. To put it another way—people go to particular sites for particular reasons. People who are looking at homes to potentially buy, don’t think “Facebook.” They also don’t go to Twitter, Instagram or any of those other social media sites.

If your agent is telling you otherwise, they either don’t understand the online world or they’re feeding you a line. Don’t bite. There are useful strategies for using these sites but they are nuanced and only marginally helpful.

Estimated Values You See Online Are Literally Trash

Photo of a man drawing a chart on glass - What Every Seller Should Know About Today's Home Buyers
Don’t believe online estimates for your home’s value. They’re simply terrible.

This won’t take long. Answer this simple question: “Can a website walk around inside your home?” The correct (and obvious) response is no. Sorry!

Now, some might say, “What about the photos?!” Technology is not so advanced that it can first, determine if the photos are, in fact, truly from the correct house. Nor can they interpolate the current interior condition of your home, appreciate its aesthetic appeal and then calculate a numerical value to your property.

Without a doubt, the best way to determine a home’s value is by performing a CMA. This is what an appraiser does. This is what great agents do.

Creating a CMA is part art, part science. When you are online, sites that produce an estimated value are using an automated valuation method (AVM). These values are way, way off. Don’t believe them.

Bottom Line

Today’s home buyers are more tech savvy. They’re far more likely to interact with online content. And they’re far less likely to visit an Open House. Life is just too busy. Better to schedule showings that fit their schedule.

To get ahead in our current real estate market, home sellers that have experienced agents who understand these current trends will be the ones rewarded.