A new website claims to give the numbers in Okemo Mountain and beyond. Wherever you live, if you plan to buy or sell a home, one of the most important pieces of information you will need is the home’s current value in reasonably accurate terms. Zillow.com is a new national website that purports to be able to tell you that so that you – uh – won’t need a Realtor like me.
Well, I just read a good post on this by my friend Margaret Rome in Baltimore, Maryland and want to share it with you. It really says it all: “In the last few days, a new Web site launched with great fanfare but spotty performance. When CNN included a story about it on their evening news, the site couldn’t keep up with the hits. Why all the fuss? Zillow promises to give homebuyers and sellers up to date and complete information about the value of their home and comparables in their area.
Some have suggested this will make real estate agents obsolete because people will be able to price their own homes to be competitive. The early returns are that the site’s information is incomplete and sometimes wrong, which makes the suggested price ranges they give hard to justify. In some cases, the range is optimistically high, and for others, I’ve negotiated sales higher than their top amount.
The site depends on public records for its data. But public records will not show factors, like recent additions and improvements or the condition of the interior, that affect price. Public records can also be wrong; a friend of mine checked her house and said she wants that fireplace she’s supposed to have, but will not give up the second bathroom they didn’t count. If the information about a house is wrong, how valid is the price estimate? In time, the site will undoubtedly improve, but for now – caution.
There is no question about real estate agents becoming an endangered species because of this or any other site. Price is only one factor in buying or selling your home, and getting to the settlement table means avoiding traps and overcoming obstacles. A top agent will be experienced at:
negotiating the terms of your contract,
making sure only qualified buyers troop through your home,
meeting and dealing with appraisers, and
working with home inspectors and title companies to be sure you are protected from start to finish.
Buying or selling a home is an emotionally-charged transaction. Now more than ever it pays to have an experienced professional on your side. Embrace the benefits of new technology, but don’t fall into the trap of believing it will replace market knowledge and personal service.
The end of real estate agents? Not any time soon. Margaret”
Visit Margaret Rome’s Blog here.
I am glad to provide you with a complete, accurate home evaluaton. Click here for your no-obligation report.