How has the Internet changed our world? That’s a historic question with a constantly evolving answer. We’ve got 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 – instantly and at any time of the day and without having to leave our desk.
Having more information at your disposal is unquestionably a good thing, but it also adds the very real potential for information overload.
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 all potential homebuyers rely heavily on the Internet to conduct their home search. This is 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.
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There are so many fantastic real estate Web sites out there, many of which have valuable, readily available data – and lots of it. 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? Most of these services are free.
In addition to what we might call “standard” real estate Web sites, there has been a 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 are obsessed with doom-and-gloom real estate. Bad news sells, and the national outlets’ content frequently 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.
Paralysis by analysis
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. That can lead to over-analysis and delayed decision making.
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? How do you put it into context and relate it to your situation? As a trusted adviser, a Texas 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 real estate agent 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 also added a level of complexity to the process as well.
Trust a Texas Realtor to help you when you’re buying or selling a home, especially these days.
For more information about buying or selling real estate in Texas, I invite you to visit Arlingtonrealtor.com, an online source for consumer-friendly real estate information in the Arlington area.