On Line Home Search – What You See Is Not Always What You Get



We understand that most buyers search for homes on line and wanted consumers to understand that things are not always as their appear. For your education, we have put together a list of:


1.     CONDITION – Photoshop is a powerful tool that is often abused by listing agents and homes rarely look as nice in person.

2.    LOCATION – When a home states “great location”, understand that “great” is a relative term. We suggest learning the specific neighborhoods so you know where you want to be located and use a tool like googlemaps to get a more accurate idea of the location of a home.

3.    ADVERSE CONDITIONS – Since a listing agent is trying to sell the home, they will never come right out and tell you that there are power lines or a highway located  directly behind the home. There may also be a commercial building right next door, conveniently cropped out of the front photo. Be weary of adverse factors that could greatly affect marketability of a home.

4.     STATUS – Don’t assume the home you love on line is still available. Some sites show outdated information and don’t clean up their site very often. To make sure a home is still an active listing, we recommend using a site that gets information directly from the local MLS ( Multiple Lisitng Service ).

5.     INACCURATE FEATURES – There is nothing worse than walking into what you thought was a 4 bedroom home only to find out it only has 3 real usable bedrooms.  A good agent will know these types of things so you don’t waste your time.

6.    READ BETWEEN THE LINES – The copy and description written on a home is like that on a resume, often embellished. The listing agents job is to get buyers in the door so just be mindful.

7.     TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE – Remember, if a home looks too good to be true on line, there may be a reason.  While there are some great deals out there, if a home seems priced abnormally low compared to other similar homes, find out why.

8.     EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE – Believe it or not, some homes actually look better in person. Some agents don’t take great pictures or put much effort into their listings and fantastic homes can get overlooked. A good agent will be able to point out some hidden gems.

9.     PUBLIC RECORDS ARE SOMETIMES WRONG – Information that appears on a listing sometimes gets imported directly from public records—and is inaccurate. Do yourself a favor and double check things on your own.

10.   THE LISTING AGENT DOES NOT REPRESENT YOU –  While many on line listings encourage you to contact the listing agent directly with questions, that agent does not represent you. If you have any questions about a home you see on line, call your buyer’s agent.

When all is said and done, viewing homes on line is a great way to start. However, a good buyers agent will preview homes on your behalf up front to save you valuable time and effort.

If you are serious about buying a home, hire a buyer’s agent. It won’t cost you money ( the seller pays real estate commissions ) and will be extremely helpful.


About The Authors

The above information is compliments of The Schuman Team, Amy and Dan, of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services.

They can be reached at 216-346-3235 or 216-403-9189 or via email, danschuman@howardhanna.com or amyschuman@howardhanna.com.

The Schumans service the following Cleveland area suburbs: Bainbridge, Bay Village, Beachwood, Bentleyville, Chagrin Falls, Cleveland Heights, Gates Mills, Highland Heights, Hunting Valley, Lakewood, Lyndhurst, Mayfield Heights, Mayfield Village, Moreland Hills, Oakwood Village, Orange, Pepper Pike, Shaker Heights, Solon, South Euclid, University Heights, Westlake, Woodmere.

On Line Home Search – What You See Is Not Always What You Get is the property of The Schuman Team and may not be duplicated or used without their written consent.


3 Responses to On Line Home Search – What You See Is Not Always What You Get
  1. Benni
    July 7, 2012 | 3:44 pm

    Yes, great post. While there are a lot of laws such as the distance selling act (UK) in place to protect people who buy online the real estate industry is one that still seems able to circumvent a lot of the rules that are in place to generate leads.

    Ultimately common sense wins here as the bending of these rules is only really able to generate leads and no one parts with any money at this stage but we do perhaps need to have someone take a look at it and add in some extra layers of protection.
    Benni recently posted..Tall stories

    • Dan Schuman
      July 7, 2012 | 5:35 pm


      Thank you for your comments. At the end of the day buyers need to be smart and understand that if something seems too good to be true, it usually is.

  2. Shed Serrano
    July 10, 2012 | 1:24 pm

    Great tips. It’s true buyers need to be smart in choosing a home. Usually, searching a home online is not what it really appears, so one must not be expectant in everything you see and read online.

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