“More homes than ever before are being marketed on the Internet,” says Kendra Todd, of HGTV’s “My House is Worth What?” and season three winner of “The Apprentice.” “Whether you’re buying or selling, it’s essential to work with a real estate expert who is on the cusp of the latest trends, especially the Internet.”
Even the most techno-savvy among us may feel overwhelmed by the volume of real estate information—and listings—available on the Internet. How do you sort through it if you’re a buyer? And how do you find the right agent who will know how to maximize Internet marketing value if you’re a seller? Here are tips from real estate experts—Todd, Saul Klein, CEO of Point2 Technologies, the company behind a leading real estate Web site, Point2 Homes, and Brady Pevehouse of Lynk Mortgage and Perrone Realty in central Florida.
Tips for Sellers
n With home prices still falling in many areas of the country, it’s probably tempting to try to sell on your own and avoid paying a commission to an agent.
“But homes represented by agents historically sell faster and for a better price than those sold by owners,” Klein said. “It’s harder and riskier to try selling on your own.”
n Select an Internet-savvy real estate agent to represent you. Questions to ask any agent you’re considering include: Do you plan to use syndication to publish my listing widely? Do you cover Craigslist, Yahoo! and Google, for example? How many sites will my home be on? What kind of traffic do those sites receive? Will you purchase ad space on the Internet?
n Use the Internet to find a tech-savvy agent. At Point2Homes.com, sellers can find local agents with sophisticated Internet marketing skills. These agents use Point2 Technologies’ Web marketing software, Point2 Agent, to syndicate listings and to create and maintain user-friendly, informative Web sites designed to help their clients sell their homes.
Tips for Buyers
n Take full advantage of the Internet’s research power.
“The Internet can give you more relevant real estate information than just listings,” Todd says. “You can use it to evaluate price trends in areas of interest, access city hall records on development plans for your area, check out crime statistics, school facilities and noise issues.”
n “Begin with a clear vision of why you’re buying and how long you intend to be in the house,” Pevehouse said. “This will help you determine what kind of home you’re looking for and what mortgage product is right for you.”
n Working with an Internet-savvy agent is as important for buyers as it is for sellers, Todd says. “Does the realtor provide dynamic info? Is he or she comfortable communicating with e-mail, text messaging and other technology tools?”
n While you’re researching online, keep in mind the difference between blogs and information, Todd said. “Blogs are just opinions.” Look for fact-based sites and be sure the information you find is not outdated.
n “Real estate is intensely regional,” Todd said. Be sure to learn about the market in your area, because it may not necessarily be following national-level trends.
n Don’t be afraid to negotiate terms with the seller.
“With inventory levels high, sellers can be very accommodating,” Pevehouse says. “Many are willing to contribute towards closing costs as an incentive for buyers.”
n If you’re even thinking about buying, do it now.
“Jump on it now,” Todd said.
Klein agreed: “It’s a buyer’s market, perhaps the best in years.”
Buyers and sellers will both find more information on agents, markets and more at www.Point2Homes.com.