How has the Internet changed our world? That’s an historic question with a constantly changing answer. We have instant access to huge amounts of information, with more being created every day. We can read the latest news headlines, collaborate and communicate with people around the world, conduct business, check stock prices, watch video, listen to music, play games, and research anything that comes to mind – at any time of the day and without leaving our desk!
Not your parents’ home search
The Internet is also largely responsible for dramatic changes in the real estate industry. What’s the most significant difference? Research shows that almost 80 percent of recent homebuyers relied heavily on the Internet to conduct their home search. This is a definitely not the way our parents and grandparents looked for a property. I see this as a positive thing. It saves everyone a great deal of time and makes the house-hunting experience much more efficient for the homebuyer.
Got a question?
http://www.HAR.com is one of the nation’s preeminent real estate Web sites, offering valuable, readily available data for the entire greater Houston area. I’m not just talking about searching homes for sale. You can estimate the value of a house, research demographics, assess schools, learn about communities, and even get satellite imagery of a neighborhood or a house. The best part is that these services are free.
If you’ve searched online for real estate information recently, you’ve probably noticed the proliferation of real estate-related blogs. Blogs are a great source of information—places where you can ask questions, interact with experts, and find data that’s already been deciphered and analyzed. And bloggers will engage almost anyone about almost anything. Want to know where the best hamburger or pizza in your new town is? How about the return on investment for stainless steel kitchen appliances when remodeling or selling a home?
Don’t believe everything you read
It’s not just trade-specific sites that affect the industry. National news media continue to be obsessed with doom-and-gloom real estate coverage. There’s certainly no shortage of negative publicity about the industry: stories about foreclosures and real estate’s ties to the national economy are widespread. Bad news sells, and the national outlets’ content reflects it. This is especially true on Web sites—there are no true space constraints, authors are not confined to traditional publication schedules and deadlines, and readers have the ability to post their comments on stories.
Know the source
With all these streams of information, there’s no question that anyone, especially someone who’s not in the real estate industry, could easily suffer from information overload. What’s the worst part of that? A lot of that information is extraneous, erroneous, or simply invalid in our market.
As a buyer, seller, or homeowner, you may find it hard to know who to trust. Much of the information on the Internet is written authoritatively and wrapped in a pretty package, which lends instant credibility, sometimes without good reason. So what’s true? What do you really need to know? As a trusted adviser, a Realtor can help you navigate the modern real estate transaction, sift through all the data and arrive at good decisions.
The industry has changed, but ultimately, the job of a Realtor is the same: to help you with the process of buying or selling a home. It’s what we do. The Internet has added a new dimension to the real estate world, and it’s made many aspects of the real estate transaction easier, quicker and more transparent. More data and solid research make for a more involved and informed buyer, which are positive consequences of today’s Internet-based real estate tools. Be aware, though, that all that available information has added a level of complexity to the process as well.
Whether you're interested in buying your first home, your next home, or just want to know more about home-ownership in general, I encourage you to check out a couple of great online resources: http://www.texasrealestate.com/ or http://www.har.com/ and for all of your Pearland TX and Northern Brazoria and Galveston County real estate needs, please visit my site at http://www.danfrankrealty.com//. All of these sites offer tons of useful, real estate-related information geared specifically for Texans.
Danny Frank is a local Pearland TX Real Estate expert!
My column was also published in the 19April09 edition of the Galveston County Daily News