Greg Fleischaker is a real estate agent with Lenihan Sotheby’s International Realty in Louisville, Kentucky. Learn what common blunders you don’t even know you’re making with your search for a new home in this insightful podcast.
Mistake #1: You’re logged into Google.
Did you know Google shows different real estate search results to people based on whether or not they’re logged into Gmail, Google+, Adwords, or another Google account. If you want a “clean” result that is not based on previous searches or the location listed in your profile, then you will need to log out.
Mistake #2: Your search is too broad.
Are you searching “homes for sale in Louisville, KY”? You and everybody else! Even though you probably have a general idea of a comfortable price range and one or two desirable neighborhoods within the larger metro, the search results you get back will represent everything that’s out there – including a lot of homes you would never want! Instead, try to look up terms that include more specific information. Avoid the temptation to choose a Realtor just because he or she us based near your office or your home.
Mistake #3: You don’t know what makes a “good” Realtor.
Were you thinking of calling a Realtor because the website looks pretty? Do you love browsing Houzz and Pinterest? A general approach to house hunting may work for some, but you may need a Realtor with a certain type of expertise. Some agents work more with buyers, while others may have more seller clients. Some agents do more office-based research, while others are out driving around and touring more houses. Realtors may specialize in certain neighborhoods or price ranges as well. It’s wise to do your general homework, but delve into more specific search terms when you are looking for a Realtor to find the home you desire.
Mistake #4: You don’t have an account.
Most real estate websites will let you sign up for an account to receive automatic alerts when homes matching your search criteria come up on the MLS. This is a great way to stay on top of what’s going on in real estate – once you are ready to buy, of course. Some people enter fake information because they want to do their own thing, look at photos, gather reconnaissance, but don’t necessarily want to be contacted. If you’re at that stage of the game and aren’t completely serious about the hunt just yet, then you may be surfing the wrong types of websites if they’re asking for personal information.
Mistake #5: You’re ignoring the houses that have already sold.
If you’re a buyer, your first goal should be to make sure you don’t overpay for a house. A good Realtor helps with that, but you can also browse a high-quality website that lists prices of houses sold so you can get an idea of what the neighborhood is worth. No one wants to have the most expensive house in an area by tens of thousands of dollars. If you need to sell your home, you should also be looking at data on houses that have sold – particularly how many days the homes sat on market before they were snapped up.
Mistake #6: Your sources are dated.
Big websites like Realtor.com, Trulia.com and Zillow.com are tempting just for sheer volume’s sake, but it may surprise you to learn they don’t really get updated that often! You’ll find zero local information and zero expertise with these mega-sites. Greg Fleischaker says he talks with many defectors who say they used to browse these sites often, but they became frustrated when it was time to take the next step and the properties they liked were already off the market or under contract. A local real estate agent site is going to get you the most current information.