Portland Real Estate, Buyers and Technology

by | Apr 22, 2013 | Buyer Tips

Technology has improved our lives over the last ten years, but it’s also caused some problems along the way for Portland real estate buyers.

As a buyer, you naturally want to take advantage of every tool and service available to make it easier to find the home of your dreams. However, the Internet, which is one of the most common places for people to shop for Portland real estate nowadays, has also become a place where the unscrupulous hang out.  You can’t believe everything you read online, even when it comes to shopping for homes online.

If you’re trying to find a home, here are two things you need to be aware of:

Zillow & Trulia

Many potential buyers find an interesting home only to find out it is not for sale or already sold. Ever happened to you?  You want to make sure you’re getting the most up to date information. Thanks to the Internet, we have sites like Zillow & Trulia that provide a lot of good information, however these sites do not have relationships with the local Multiple Listing Service and at times are missing up to as much as 30% of the active inventory.  Additionally these sites try to provide the public home estimation values.

The problem is that these sites hardly ever agree on the home value. They can differ as much as 20% or more. While home valuation sites are an excellent place to get a ballpark estimate, you shouldn’t base your buying price on their information alone. Hire a reputable Portland real estate agent who knows the surrounding area and recent sale prices.

Dream Home or Fixer?

One of the best things to happen for real estate agents and sellers alike is the ability to post digital photos and walk-through videos of the homes they’re selling. This is also great for you, as the buyer, because you can view the homes without going anywhere.

Unfortunately, many of those images and videos can be misleading for buyers.  A homes flaws don’t always stand out in really good photography.

Any time you see a home online that you’re interested in, it’s a good idea to check Google Maps and use the Street View option. At the very least, you can usually see the front and sides of the home. If you’re still interested, visit the home in person, or, if that’s not possible for some reason, ask your Portland real estate agent to visit the home and report back with the overall condition of the house.