Old Town Florence and the historic Siuslaw River Bridge

Old Town Florence and the historic Siuslaw River Bridge

Thursday, April 21, 2011

On Line Property Searches Take Over tthe World!

Over the past 10 years, home buyers have enjoyed the ability to search homes for sale in almost any community in the nation through a wide variety of web sites. Among the most popular are Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, Front Door, Redfin, Yahoo, and Craigs List. There are hundreds of other sites, including multiple listing services, and hundreds of thousands of individual agent web sites with this search capacity. Anyone with a computer, ipad, or smart phone can look at homes 24/7, and be innundated with information. Mapping prograns in these websites can give you the proximity to churchs, schools, parks, and even your favorite fast food restaurant and coffee shop. The amount of pure data can be overwelming, if not, thoroughly confusing. This process is extremely valuable. Real estate agents have use this technology for years to select properties to show a buyer which meets their defined criteria. The Internet has revolutionized just about everything we buy, from books, electronics and other consumer goods, to food and clothing. What separates real estate from this group, is the inability to return a house for a refund after the purchase has been made. Believe it or not, during periods of strong seller's markets, people actually buy real estate sight unseen!

What the Internet fails to do for real estate, is to answer some of the most important questions buyers should ask. In my Oregon Coast community of Florence, we are fortunate to have a wide range of housing options, ranging from small bungalows in town priced around $100,000, to magnificent ocean or lake front estates priced over $1,000,000. Even within a narrow price range of say, $250-$300,000, the selection and diversity is large. For many residents, the biggest factor to consider is our coastal weather. Temperatures and wind velocity and direction vary dramatically, even within a small area. For buyers wanting to enjoy an outdoor lifestyle, this is extremely important. I have yet to come accross a real estate web site with this kind of information.

A well informed, real estate professional, will fill in all of that information missing on the web. By all means, use the technology for information. Use your Realtor for knowledge, experience, and guidance.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Real Estate Agents...Do You Get What You Pay For?

I have been giving a lot of thought about how we distinguish value and quality of the goods and services we purchase every day. We have all been taught that the higher the price, the higher the quality. Walmart competes on the assumption that low price will bring you into the store. Nortstrom, on the other hand, promises (and delivers) outstanding customer service and very high quality goods. Obviously, prices are higher at Nordstrom than at Walmart. Where do real estate agents fall into the mix?

Historically, real estate agents have been paid by the seller. There is no line item on the buyers closing statement for the services they received from the agent representing their best interest in the purchase process. There is no apparent relationship between the price paid, and the quality of services received. Hopefully, they received a very high level of professional service from an experienced, knowlegable professional. On the other hand, they may have received a level of service boardering on the incompetant and unethical - and for the same price!

Sellers will often interview several agents before listing their home for sale, and many times will list with the agent representing the highest listing price. This strategy often results in long marketing times and numerous price reductions prior to recieving their first offer.

Buyers may not initially see the quality differences between agents unless they ask the right questions. Simply having a real estate license is no indicator of knowledge, professional experience, competence, or ethics.

My best recommendation is to talk with several agents and ask questions. Learn about their experience in real estate, their areas of specialty, professional education and training, and your overall feeling of confidence with the person. Compare several, and stick with your decision. Loyalty works both ways in any relationship. Don't be in a hurry to jump in the car and look at nice houses.

Do you get what you pay for? If you have done your homework, selected the best agent, stuck with them through difficult situations-absolutely yes! You got a great deal!