Tuesday, June 3, 2014

These Six Words May Be Preventing You From Finding Your Next Austin Home: “But I Saw It On Zillow”…

These Six Words May Be Preventing You From Finding Your Next Austin Home: “But I Saw It On Zillow”…

As a professional, full time real estate broker with more than a decade of experience in two states, I can tell you that few statements irk me more than those that start with these 6 words: “But I Saw It On Zillow.” Why? Because they are almost always followed up with a statement that cannot be verified anywhere except on Zillow.  It’s almost like an alternate reality for real estate.

For example, when a buyer who is actively searching for her next Austin home with one of our agents calls and asks about a foreclosure on 2.5 acres right outside the city limits that she just saw for just $305,000 and wonders why we didn’t send it to her when we sent her properties to tour this weekend. I drop what I’m doing, concerned that perhaps we did miss this needle-in-a-haystack perfect home. But no, a quick check of Zillow and a through cross check with the Multiple Listing Service and county tax records shows that the home is not bank owned. It’s not on the market. It hasn’t been on the market for at least a decade. In fact, it’s had the same owner for over a decade.
So why would this home be displayed on Zillow as a foreclosure? Well, if a property owner misses even one mortgage payment, the bank reports that to the credit bureaus. Zillow purchases data like this and in the company’s infinite wisdom, it lists that house on its website as a pre-foreclosure. But that doesn’t mean the homeowner hasn’t already caught up on the missing payment, and it certainly doesn’t mean the homeowner is considering selling. And it REALLY doesn’t mean that the bank is able to negotiate a deal with a buyer who is ready to buy now.

Because buyers are scrambling to find good deals in today’s market with limited inventory, these longshots on Zillow seem attractive. I do understand that. But I have seen this enough times to know that shopping on Zillow can create a huge distraction from the REAL market, the REAL prices, and the homes that are available today – you know, the market that I as a professional real estate broker am working in to find my client her next Austin home.

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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