for-saleThe internet and the past housing crash has changed the way homes are sold and bought today.  If you’re getting ready to sell your home or in the process of selling your home, here are some things you need to understand about today’s home buyers.

  • Today’s Home Buyers are Informed 

The internet has made it easy to access information about the real estate market. Home Buyers can and will find out what you paid for your home and when you bought it.  They can also find out about the costs of any permitted upgrades or repairs made. They will know what similar homes have sold for. With so much information at their fingertips, they will avoid your home if you over-price it.     

  • Don’t Rely on Computer Generated Home Values When Pricing Your Home

Home buyers are likely to check the online estimates of your home’s value.  Unfortunately, the information they are viewing is very seldom accurate. One of the most popular real estate portals comes within $20K of the final sales price less than half the time.


This is a snap shot from the portals website

You should never rely on the computer generated values for your list price. These values are high as often as they are low. Have your agent show you the comparables for your home. Take a look at the photos of the comparables to see how they compare to the condition of your home. Adjust the price of your home to compensate for differences in condition and upgrades. How does your location compare?  Does your home back up to a busy street or does it have a view that adds to its value?  Your price may differ from the guestimate home buyers see online. Your agent will need to point out how they arrived at the value and why it is more accurate than the guestimate.

  • Today’s Buyers Don’t Waste Time at Open Houses – They Shop Online on the Internet

30 years ago, home buyers visited open houses.  In those days, they looked at newspaper classifieds to find out about new listings and open houses or their agent looked in the BOOK which all agents had to know what homes were for sale or under contract. This information may have been updated weekly or monthly. Times have changed, now agents have information updated hourly or sometimes in even less time than that so the information is kept updated almost like a live streaming show. Some agents can send information to home buyers on an AS SOON AS POSSIBLE system so that whenever changes are made to a property that information can be sent to the home buyers that the agent is working with.

As Realtors, holding an open house can be an opportunity to meet home buyers who are just starting to look and haven’t committed to a buyer’s agent.  We can meet the neighbors who stop by who may be thinking of listings their homes.  Holding an open house can provide feedback for what the visitors think of a home.  We seldom find serious buyers who are ready to “buy now” at an open house.  

The serious buyers look at listings online.  They schedule appointments for their agent to show them the ones they like. When hiring the agent that is going to list your home, confirm that they will provide professional quality photographs, include information about your home for home buyers to preview and that they include all the particulars possible about your home. Home buyers screen which homes they view by the photos, If they only see a few of the exterior, they assume there’s something wrong with the interior, then they review the information and description supplied about the home. Home buyers schedules are busy and they won’t take time to see your home if it doesn’t look appealing.  Top Realtors are now moving beyond providing just photographs, a video of your home can highlight areas not visible on the photographs. This is especially useful for out of area buyers.

  • Home Buyers Have More Difficulty Getting Mortgage Approval

If you purchased a home before the housing market peaked, you may have sailed through the mortgage process.  At one point, buyers could get mortgage approval based on “stated income” and with “zero down”.  Getting a mortgage isn’t so easy in today’s market.  The most qualified buyers may have to dig through tons of paperwork before getting their final loan approval.

Your Realtor needs to confirm that buyers have been approved by a reputable lender. It’s easy to go online and get a “Pre-qualification” letter.

A mortgage pre-qualification can be best described as a prediction on the amount a buyer can borrow.  In many cases, a pre-qualification is only as good as the piece of paper it is written on.  Many lenders will ask a potential borrower about their incomes, debts, and other assets and use what they are told to issue a pre-qualification. Some lenders will pull a credit report but some will not. This often can lead to surprises in the future once a buyer goes to formally apply for their mortgage.

A full pre-approval letter requires documentation of income, credit scores, bank statements, etc.  When sellers accept an offer the home will show as under contract. Buyers will stop coming to see it. If the buyer can’t get approved for the amount they’re offering, you will have wasted days or even weeks.  When the buyer can’t qualify for the mortgage, they may even be entitled to the return of their Earnest Money Deposit. Your home will go back on the market.  Home buyers will see that it has been listed for a long time, and may wonder if there’s something wrong with the home that made it fall out of contract. You should only consider offers that are accompanied by a pre-approval letter or a proof of funds with cash buyers.

  • Social Media Is a Great Resource for Real Estate Info but Buyers Aren’t Necessarily Shopping There

Today’s most experienced Realtors are using Social Media to share tips and advice to help home buyers and sellers.  There are agents that do podcasts giving sellers and buyers information that can be listened to whenever they want, just be downloading it to their preferred device they use to listen to music or other audio items. Just type in a question and you’ll find a variety of articles to answer it.  When hiring a Realtor, you may be promised that your home will be promoted through social media, this isn’t a good reason to hire a Realtor. The one who promises exposure on Facebook doesn’t know the following.

With advertising and sponsored posts, your listing can be seen by specific demographics who might be actually interested in your home. But the jury is out on whether people come to Facebook to look for real estate. While 92% of homebuyers are looking online, most are looking on real estate specific websites, like Zillow, Realtor.com and Trulia.

Real estate agents get followers on social media by providing useful information.  They interact with followers. They may share one of their listings. They’ll share a photo of a gorgeous pool or fireplace in a listing.  Maybe they’ll post one of their YouTube videos of a home for sale. They won’t spam their followers with a constant stream of links to listings.

  • Advice To Home Sellers

Low inventory has given sellers an edge in today’s market.That doesn’t mean you can get away with over-pricing or sloppy marketing. You need to make sure your home shows well and is presented properly to attract today’s savvy home buyers. This will be more important as the real estate market becomes more balanced between buyers and sellers.

Hire an experienced agent who knows your market and keeps up to date with technology.  They will understand the importance of online marketing and how to properly implement online marketing  Online marketing should be made to the world as the home buyer can come from the city or town next to you or from somewhere over the ocean. They’ll help you get it ready to list and price it right. They should have a brochure to give you for items that need to be addressed to make your home is market ready.

Your agent should be giving you updates on viewings and interest on your home being made on the internet on a weekly basis, especially since the first viewing of your home is on the internet, not at an open house. Your home has one chance at that first impression, not done properly you won’t get a second chance as there are no second first impressions.