Kitsap Property Shopping: Online vs In-Person

Kitsap Property Shopping:  Online vs In Person

One of the BEST improvements in the home buying process over the past while, is the ability to preview homes online in true database-search fashion.  Particularly in the last couple years, we've seen an explosion in photo quality, staging quality, and video walk-through options.

Some of this is obviously due to the needs of full-quarantine at the outset of the pandemic. Photographers and agents alike really poured on the steam to improve what clients could glean from online offerings.  In fact, it was a true shining bit for us all back then, agents and clients alike.  Without it, we'd have all been Up. A.  Creek.  (And while property is one of the most expensive things any of us ever buy, it's not a LUXURY:  people often MUST move, for reasons way outside their control.  It would quickly have become a desperate situation for many.)  Now that things are much easier in terms of viewing properties in person, we've happily held on to these improvements.

However, these types of offerings had already been coming along for many years prior, improving hand in hand with advancements to internet technologies and digital media.  We've seen the offerings doubled, as mobile tech came into focus as well - no longer did you have to be tethered to your big home PC in order to delve into online real estate offerings.

It's also worth mentioning that the older generation, once responsible for the biggest slice of transactions, was not terribly tech-savvy (with notable exceptions) - so as that median point shifted forward in time, we saw increasing willingness to utilize online resources in our clients.

Thanks to sophisticated databases, you can now drill down into a locale's MLS (Multiple Listing Service, meaning the joint offerings of nearly all listed real estate) with a lot of aplomb - you can specify bedrooms and bathrooms, features, property size, year built, price range, neighborhood, and so much more. It's incredibly useful.

No matter how excellent evolving real estate tech is, it is NOT a substitute for actually seeing the property in person (and having your inspector make a visit as well.)  For this, you really need a good buyer's agent, someone with access to the online scheduling client used by listing agents and licensed to access the lockboxes that secure listed properties.  It's possible to get a really good preview at hosted open houses - and you totally should go to a bunch in your area, when you're house-shopping.  But most people feel rather self conscious, compared to the private tour.  It can be hard to really level with your house-shopping partner (if you have one) with the listing agent nearby, as well as essentially the competition: other buyers.

And there's so much that is really you can't tell from pictures and video, no matter how artful.  You can't make that critical "What the actual {bleep} is that horrendous odor?" observation.  You won't get a feel for neighborhood safety online.  You can't tell how loud that nearby freeway or airport REALLY might be without actually showing up in person.  And for sure, you can't know exactly how (necessarily) exaggerated wide angle shots might be, if you don't visit. 

One of the biggest "in person surprises" (compared to preconceptions from the online listing) we hear from clients is that they hadn't pictured the house's layout properly from the online listing.  Sure, some include a helpful floor plan (which is great, when it's available) but a lot of folks struggle with translating pictures and diagrams to 3D reality.  You HAVE to visit in person, to know if it's really going to work for you.

Online tools have been SUCH a boon for everyone involved - agents, sellers, buyers, investors, industry co-professionals . . . everyone.  They amount to helping spark imagination for everyone (a good thing!) and are a HUGE time saver, because you won't visit heaps of places you're certain are wrong for you.  But there just is no substitute for a professional, licensed real estate broker who knows what you're looking for and knows the local inventory intimately.  Does a property have space to build that extra bedroom you need above the garage space?  It won't really show up that way in the listings - but your Kitsap-experienced realtor will know.

Give us a ring today at Dupuis Team - we'd love to be your local in-person expert (...and never mind giving a few pointers about using the tech tools, too!)

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