Have you ever watched the show "House Hunters" on HGTV? I kind of hate to admit it, but it's one of my favourites! Not very realistic to narrow the entire house buying experience into a 30-minute episode, I know, but it is fun to see home buyers narrow down their search, as they point out the pros and cons of each property.
My mom recently gave me a book by Suzanna Whang, the host of this show, titled "Happy Home Buying". Most of the properties shown on House Hunters are in the States, as the show is based out of California, but now there's also an International version. There are some differences in the Canadian real estate market, but many concepts are universal.
Here is an excerpt from the book that I found very interesting:
Americans have come to depend heavily on information gathered on the Internet. The data provided online is often taken for the absolute truth. But have you ever done an online search for directions to a particular destination, only to find that the map takes you on a wild goose chase through circuitous routes, as if your computer had gone haywire? (GPS isn't foolproof either!) Have you gotten that email about the deadly teddy bear computer virus, forwarded it to all your friends, and then found out it was only a hoax?
Well, guess what? The Internet is not the absolute truth. It's a tool. It's the new world of communication. It's a massive database, a database that requires you to use a good deal of human judgment.
Ten years ago, when Internet use began to take off, many in the real estate industry envisioned the day when standard methods of real estate sales and promotion would be eclipsed by the Internet. That day may come. However, so far the Internet has simply provided an additional tool for getting the message out. It hasn't yet revolutionized the industry. Some might even suggest that the Internet has added to the confusion because much of the information is actually out of date, unverified, false, or fraudulent, designed only to attract business, generate a "hit" or a live call.
Real estate on the Internet is largely unregulated by anyone. Even top-of-the-graded agents working with major real estate brokerage houses are not held to any standard of accuracy when providing data via the Internet.
Any way you look at it, there is no substitute for face-to-face contact and service. If you haven't yet found an exclusive realtor to represent you in a purchase or sale, I'd love to be considered.