It is a known fact that the internet has dramatically changed how we search for, buy and sell homes.
In recent years websites such as Zillow, Trulia and Redfin have emerged enticing most consumers with the convenience of searching for Real Estate and Real Estate Agents from the comfort of their homes.
However, there are some ways that consumers may become mislead by using these sites.
Read below to find out the top 5 myths of using online Real Estate websites such as Zillow in the quest for buying or selling a home.
The Big Zillow Myth: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You
Myth #1: The Real Estate Agents with the most reviews are the best.
This is not necessarily true.
Sites such as Zillow, Trulia and Redfin have contractual agreements with some Agents allowing them to expose or have their profiles rank among others in a particular zip code.
What this means to you as a home buyer or seller is that when you begin your search the Agents that you are seeing in your sidebar or front page more than likely paid to be there.
So, of course the Agent with the most visibility will in turn engage more potential customers thus making them appear as the “best“.
The truth is that the agents had to pay for that position but it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are better than any other Agent on the site.
In fact, several Agents choose not to advertise their services on Zillow because of the costs of advertising (which could run up to thousands of dollars in certain areas!)
So if you run across any Agent profile that does not have rating or sales, it doesn’t mean that they are terrible Agents it just means that they do not use the site to advertise their services.
When deciding on an Agent, it is best to talk to many and gauge which one you personally feel will work in your best interest and not based on star ratings or ranking on Zillow.
Myth #2: Zillow says my house is worth this much, so it must be true.
Zillow does not know your local market.
They gather information from public records and the home value a.k.a Zestimate that is presented to you is nothing more than a mere guesstimate.
Zillow and it’s members are unable to physically visit the homes in your neighborhood so the zestimate is not based on facts but information that could be outdated and incorrect.
When valuing your home, it’s is best that you consult a Real Estate professional such as a licensed Appraiser who should be able to give you a more accurate valuation of your property or have a local Real Estate Agent prepare a Comparative Market Analysis on your home.
Myth #3: I signed up with Zillow. So I am instantly alerted of all the new homes in my market.
Another big, fat myth.
Unknown to most home buyers, there is a delay between when homes hit the market (also known as the MLS or Multiple Listing Service) and when they are displayed on Zillow.
Homes that are listed by Real Estate Agents are listed on the MLS first (and sometimes not at all depending on the home seller’s request) and then Zillow retrieves the updated information sometimes days and weeks later.
If you really want to be the first to know when a particular home hits the market it would be in your best interest to team up with a Real Estate Agent that can subscribe you to your local MLS to receive email alerts straight from the source.
Myth #4: I can sell my home on Zillow without the help of a Real Estate Agent and will get more money.
Selling your home without professional assistance is by far one the riskiest things you can do, especially without any prior experience.
Yes, you can decide to not use an Agent to market your home, but you may be in a rude awakening when having to deal with the contractual paperwork and negotiation skills required when transferring real estate.
Would you go to court representing yourself without a lawyer?
Most people would not because the average person is not well versed in judicial law- the same goes with selling real estate without an Agent.
Myth #5: I can buy a home off of Zillow without the help of a Real Estate Agent.
I suggest you take a look at myth #4 to answer this one.
Once again, a smart seller would be one to use a Real Estate Agent to negotiate on their behalf as well as handle all the contractual paperwork.
You could end up overpaying for a house or worse end up with a house that is a complete nightmare.
Decide not to be on the short end of the stick and hire an Agent to represent your needs.
While Zillow, Trulia, Redfin or any other online Real Estate site may be an excellent source of quick info if you are casually browsing, however it should not be relied upon as a primary source of information.
As always, it is best to consult a professional Real Estate Agent or Attorney that you can trust to represent your best interests in any Real Estate transaction.
Are you looking to buy or sell a home in Alexandria, VA? Contact me here.
What questions or concerns do you have as a home buyer or seller? Comment Below!
Alexandria VA Homes for Sale– Lisa Washington, Your Real Estate Consultant & Friend
I specialize in listing and selling Real Estate in Alexandria, Springfield, Lorton, Fairfax and Woodbridge, VA. I am dedicated to making sure you are the most informed and educated consumer in the Real Estate market. Ready to Buy or Sell? Give me a call or text at (202)999-8166.