Thinking of Buying a House Online? Here's What You Need to Know.
With the rise of Zillow and Realtor.com the ability to see a home online has shot through the roof. This is great for both the homebuyer and the seller but you should probably use caution when looking at homes online.
Now, I’m a big proponent of everything digital. I am an expert digital marketer and an avid user of online resources. But with that being said we are still a long way from buying a home online.
Buying a house, here in Gilbert, Arizona or anywhere for that matter is a huge decision. For most people it is the largest single purchase of their lives. This is why most people spend a lot of time looking at homes on the market and then inspecting the house that they choose to buy.
This is wise and I encourage all of my clients to the due diligence before buying their new home. This is sometimes easier said than done. Sure if you live in the Gilbert area and have a decent work schedule you can definitely take the time to visit potential houses that you may want to buy.
But what if you don’t live in Gilbert or even in Arizona? Well now that sure complicates things a little bit doesn’t it?
What most people do is browse on Zillow or Realtor.com and then when they see something they might like use they little form on the page to contact the Realtor. This is all fine and dandy but what most people don’t realize is that these mega-companies make their money by selling leads to real estate agents.
Because of this business model if you fill out that from you may be put in contact with a Realtor that didn’t list that property. That agent is paying to get your contact information in hopes that you will want to buy that property.
So if you are just a tire-kicker keep this in mind. If you have ever filled out one of those forms and then got a call or text from a less than friendly Realtor it may be because they had to pay for that lead.
Now, even though you probably aren’t talking to the listing agent who knows the most about the property, the agent that you do speak with will have access to the MLS and with that comes access to additional information that is not displayed on Zillow or Realtor.com.
That’s some good news at least but chances are that that agent has never seen the inside of your (potential) future home. Sure, maybe they showed it to a different buyer but then again maybe they haven’t.
The best way to get detailed information about that property is to talk to the listing agent and both Zillow and Realtor.com make that information hard to find (for obvious reasons $$$). I would recommend Google searching the listing agent’s name or looking on Facebook for their profile so that you can get in direct contact with the person who knows the most about the property.
Now, in the Arizona MLS there is a picture limit so it may be hard to get a good feel for what the home is like without actually visiting it in person. That’s why I recommend that home sellers in this area create a video walkthrough and a webpage for their house that can showcase additional pictures.
If you are an out of town buyer who is looking at houses for sale in Gilbert you are going to want to see as much of the property as possible before you buy an expensive plane ticket or take a long drive to the Phoenix area to actually see the home in person.
One service that I offer for buyers who work with me is the creation of a video walkthrough and additional pictures of the homes that they are seriously interested in. Now there is one caveat to this and that is that if the listing is not mine I will have to get permission from the homeowner and the listing agent to do this. You would think that they would be more than willing to let someone do this for them but there are often instances where a seller may not want additional pictures or videos taken of their home. Owner occupied properties are generally speaking going to be more reluctant to this because it will interrupt their day to day life.
One thing that I should mention is that right now the real estate market in Gilbert is really hot. It is a sellers market and there is not enough inventory to satisfy all of the buyers. This means that often times a property will be under contract before it even gets picked up by services like Zillow. The best thing that you can do is to sign a buyer’s agreement with a Realtor in advance so that they can send you new listings as they are populated in the Arizona MLS. This is a service that I offer to all of my homebuyers.
Another great thing about working with a real estate agent in Gilbert AZ before you even come down to look at a home for sale is that they will be able to guide you to the right neighborhoods. Do you want to live close to great schools and family attractions? Is it important to be close to all the restaurants and shops? How far are you willing to drive to work, school, or recreation areas? These are just a few of the questions that a Realtor can help answer before you head on down to Arizona.
I would also recommend potentially getting as much data as possible on the home for sale that you are considering. What is the condition of the property? You can hire a professional inspector to provide you with a full report on the property for just a few hundred dollars – which is a whole lot less than the cost of a trip down to Gilbert just to find out that the foundation is cracked, or worse!
Another thing that you might want to consider is speaking with a local mortgage lender. They will have a good sense of the local conditions and know what it takes to get a home financed. There may also be loan programs that are available in Gilbert that are not available in other areas. If you don’t know a good mortgage broker in Gilbert, I would be happy to recommend a couple that you can talk to about the financing options here locally.
There are other issues that could arise too. For instance, lets say you found a 2 bedroom 2 bath home but you really need a 3 bedroom so you think hey, the home prices are good in Arizona so I will use the extra money from selling my house in the city to add onto the house I buy in AZ.
Well that’s all fine and dandy until you learn that the property you brought has setbacks and the land is not large enough or isn’t zoned for a larger home. That is just one example and while it may be a little bit extreme, it is a realistic possibility.
If you start working with a Gilbert Realtor before you come down to look at property they will be able to get that type of information for you or at the very least refer you to the person who can.
I didn’t write this article to scare you away from buying here – in fact quite the opposite! Gilbert is a wonderful place to relocate and the people here are super friendly and very helpful. You just need to be prepared to be prepared. The time that you spend researching and talking to a Realtor before you come to visit will save your time, money, and headaches in the long run.
As a buyer you can utilize the services of a licensed Realtor for free (generally speaking). In fact the seller usually has already negotiated with the listing agent exactly what they are going to pay both the listing and buyer agent before the property goes on the market.
I can’t speak for all of the real estate agents in Gilbert but I can tell you that I am more than happy to help an out-of-towner do pre-purchase research. Please don’t hesitate to call, text, email, Facebook message, or fill out the contact form at the bottom of this page.
Seriously! Even if you just have one simple little question, reach out to me. I am always happy to help!
You can call or text me on my cell at (480) 530-0777. You can find my Facebook by navigating to https://facebook.com/and you can email me directly at LetsTalk@TrustJustin.com.
I sincerely hope that you have found this article informative and helpful. I wish you the best of luck on your house hunt and future move. Please give me a jingle if I can be of any service.