Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Buyers Learn A Lot Online.

We have been talking lately about how much Buyers are getting from their online exploits, from their searching the Internet. We had a recent experience that opened our eyes even further on the matter. Jim was showing a listing to some folks when another person drove up to the property on a motorcycle. The man stopped, removed his helmet and took a flyer from the brochure box. Accommodating as he is, Jim opened the door and asked if he wanted to come in.

“I can’t believe you’re here!” exclaimed the man. “You must be Jim”, he continued. Of course, Jim was Jim, and so they talked. The man lives in Roseville, California and was purposely driving by that property after spending time in Reno looking at Hot August Nights cars that day. He has been watching the property online, not just from the property information viewpoint, but he actually went on Google Earth and saw the entire street, as well as the front and sides of the property. He knew things about the vacant property next door that we, unbeknownst to us, didn't ... and a lot about the neighborhood. He was ready for an onsite visit. We are continuing dialogue with the man, providing utility bills, etc., and there is a good likelihood that he will buy the property.

There is a plethora of websites where Buyers can get real estate information including: Oodle, Hotpads, OLX, Frontdoor, Backpage, Googlebase, Trulia, Dothomes, Vast, Zillow, Cyberhomes, Yahoo, Geebo in addition to the well known sites like,,,, etc.. Additionally, most agents have their own websites, like ours listed below, that allows people to search the local Multiple Listing Service.

Not only can Buyers search for homes for sale, and pull up comparable sold properties to assist them in establishing value for your property, they can find out what you paid for the property, if you have a loan on the property, if you have tax liens, if there is a Notice of Default, etc. Want to know if there is a permit for the addition? That information is now available on line in Douglas County. Floodplain maps are now readily available online. Well logs and water right information is easily tracked down via the Internet these days. There is plenty more information available to the Buyer willing to search for it.

Not all Buyers have the knowledge, ability or desire to do such extensive search efforts on their own without the help of their agent, but it is important to know that there are Buyers that are doing it, and the extent to which they are working to get information. We have had numerous instances of Buyers calling us with their own list of homes that they want to see. Most of the time they have done such a thorough job of searching that the home they ultimately buy is included in their original “shopping” list.

Our Advice: In addition to a local presence in print media, it is important to Sellers and Buyers that their agent has good technology knowledge and a thorough Internet presence. The latter takes time, knowledge, and experience. Your property must “come up” for Buyers searching our area for property like yours. It isn’t easy, but then … if real estate were easy you wouldn’t need your agent. Remember, not all Buyers use the Internet. We still encounter Buyers that don’t even have an email address. One never knows where the Buyer for your home will come from … it is important that your agent be flexible and ready.

These are fun times being virtuosos in a virtual world, but there is no satellite or website will replace the agent on the ground to help a Buyer find the right house.

Experience is Priceless! Lisa Wetzel & Jim Valentine, RE/MAX Realty Affiliates, 775-781-5472,,

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