Just about every client I work with sends me properties they found on some web site here or there. I think it's great they are engaged in the house hunt. And sometimes, the client will find their perfect place surfing the internet or looking in the paper. That is, the house or condo is still on the market and we eventually write a contratc to purchase the home.
This is the most positive way to work together. While I'm looking, my client is looking, and the right place will come along. However, many times a client gets their hopes up about the perfect home they found on a website and they wonder how I missed it. And, I've run searches in that exact area every day.
The truth is, much of the property information on random web sites and in the newspaper is outdated or lags behind "real time". The properties found by clients are many times sold or have been under contract. Many lack major features important to the client, but this data is missing from the information they saw.
Beyond market knowlege, negotiating skills, scheduling and transaction management, a Realtor's value is in the immense time spent on researching properties that are right for the client. I spend a crazy amount of time, for example, searching for a two bedroom condo with the type of outdoor space and price point that will satisfy my particular client's needs. There are literally hundreds of condos out there that sound good from some ad, but will not fit the bill when it comes to the client's values. A good Realtor will know this and only choose the best for your showings.
Anyone can look at newspaper ads or search properties on the Internet. In fact the Internet is supposed to eliminate the need of real esate agents completely. The above process however is much more time cosuming and much more inaccurate than most can imagine. For example, when searching properties totally on your own, and without professional resources, there is a time lapse that may let the perfect home slip away. The Sunday paper ad could be for a home that sold Wednesday during the week! I'm able to quickly research a property to determine it's status with real time data and just as quickly identify a similar property that just hit the market.
BUT WHAT ABOUT "OFF MARKET" PROPERTIES?
I'm not only searching the thousands of "on market" properties available at my finger tips through advanced research and professional data, but I'm also searching "off market" properties as well.
Off market properties can be discovered from inside information I have about a property a seller may list in the coming weeks. Even better, and cooler for the really good Realtors, off market properties can be had even when the owner doesn't know they're property has a buyer!
For example, I met some folks at an open house. The guys signed in with their home address and took a look around at the gorgeous single family home my brokergae is listing. I hardly spoke to them due to the busy nature of the open house that day. After the open house, I drove by the address on the card the guys filled out and found that the place was a very well kept, small, single family home. That same day I met a couple who is trying to sell their townhome in order to move up into a small single family home. Do you see where I'm going with this?
With a couple phone calls, I had arranged for the townhome sellers to view the home of the guys, even though they did not have it on the market! The guys were flattered. They were only thinking of putting their house on the market to find a bigger place, but were afraid to go through the home sale process. By finding them a buyer for their "off market" property, I eliminated the most stressful part of selling a home---opening it up to the world and wondering what will happen! Plus, the townhome couple had first crack at a great place they really liked; without competition.
So, before you go it alone, give me a call and find out how much it helps to have the research and representation on both the buying side and the selling side.