Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Starting Your Austin Home Search Online – Dos and Don’ts

Starting Your Austin Home Search Online – Dos and Don’ts

At Keep Austin Weird Homes, we work with a lot of home buyers. Heck, our owners even bought a home of their own recently. We know how much fun it is to look at homes online – you get to see the photos and prices without having to talk to a pesky Realtor who is going to talk your ear off or add you to their mailing list so they can spam you for the next couple of years. We get it!  Starting your Austin home search online makes sense.

Let’s take a moment to consider a popular website where you can start your Austin home search: Zillow.

Pros: This company has done a great job of making searching for properties easy. You can see lots of pictures, the list prices, even a ‘Zestimate’ of what the home should be valued at.

Cons: The data on Zillow isn’t necessarily up to date or accurate. There is no consequence for Zillow if they publish inaccurate data – no professional board of standards or anything like that. This is one reason the Austin Board of Realtors recently opted to stop syndication listing data to the website. Yes, that’s right. If you live in Austin, the Board of Realtors no longer automatically sends listings to Zillow, making it even less of a complete source for the most up to date information.

But what about when it’s time to get out of “shopping” mode and into “buying” mode?

Let’s say you’ve been looking at homes online for a while, and you see one that really interests you. You need to bear in mind that the Realtors listed on the side of Zillow’s website are simply displayed there because they are paying for ad space. Not because they know anything about the property, and not because they are good Realtors that Zillow has vetted. Nope, the only vetting Zillow does is making sure their credit card goes through each month for payment of their ad bill. To be sure you are talking to a professional, we advise you to interview agents BEFORE you fall in love with a property. That way you already have an established relationship with someone who will have your interest at heart, and with whom you feel comfortable. Not just an agent who had a few extra bucks to spend on advertising and room in their schedule for new clients this season.

Consider our “Ten Questions To Ask Your Realtor” and give us a call. We don’t buy business on Zillow-we earn it by building relationships with people whose goals we care about.

Keep Austin Weird Homes
Theresa Bastian and Rodney Campbell run an Austin, TX real estate brokerage established with the intention of doing good business with good people.  As Austin real estate market experts, Theresa and Rodney can help you buy, sell, lease or invest in real estate in and around Austin, TX.


 - By Theresa Bastian 

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