Here are the 2 most important steps in buying a home where these great websites fall short…very short.
1. Choosing an agent:
You found a house you like on Zillow or Trulia, and now you want to see it. Luckily these websites provide you with the contact information agents that work in the area. But here are some (scary) things you should know before you make that call:
* Calling an agent or viewing a home with the agent can initiate a relationship to work with them that will be difficult to get out of if you decide you want to work with someone else.
*Most of Zillows revenue is driven by advertising from agents and mortgage brokers. In other words, the agents listed are paying to be there, not necessarily because they are the best or most qualified!
Take choosing your agent seriously. For more information about this topic, watch our video How to Choose a Buyers Agent.
2. Determining Accurate Market Value
This is probably the step of buying a home that has the most potential to save you money and ensure a good investment or to end in disaster if done incorrectly.
Home buyers cannot rely solely on the Zestimate to determine market value! Zillow explains that they created this feature as a tool to be used along with a professional appraisal done by a real estate agent..
The fact is, determining market value is a complicated, and depends on many inputs that are not taken into account on Zillow. For example, Zillow recommends that a professional views the house with you to carefully analyze the home. Plus, the Zestimate does not include vital information like location, home improvements or current market conditions in its calculation.
Accurate home value cannot be determined without this information. Without an accurate home value, you cannot make an informed investment, negotiate effectively, or get the best house for your money. Worse case scenario, you can get denied home loans if your offer comes in lower than a professionals appraisal, or pay thousands of dollars more than a home is worth!
Best of luck with your home search!