By Jennifer Mills Klatt
Over the last few years in real estate, websites such as Realtor.com, Chicago Block Shopper and Zillow have given consumers information they didn’t previously have in their hands, and it has undoubtedly impacted the way we as Realtors interact with clients.
Needless to say, this has both positive and negative effects. Clients have the chance to see homes they like, research areas, demographics and schools. Some information we, as Realtors, cannot even give to them from our MLS site.
Issues do arise occasionally from clients having these tools at their fingertips. External sites that index from the MLS are not updated as quickly as the MLS and can cause problems for clients who spent hours searching on their own on real estate websites looking for homes.
As soon as they think they’ve found their “dream home” they ask us about it, and we sometimes have to crush their dreams and tell them that it is off market. Some sites put also valuation on properties taking solely proximity into consideration which adversely affects market value.
It can also help, allowing clients to weed out places they don’t want, saving us time as we help them search for a home. A new article in the Chicago Tribune referenced more ways that are coming out daily for consumers to research homes. Increasingly, the real estate game is going mobile. These new mobile apps are crowding the field with ways for customers to get information, each with their own pitfalls.
As agents, we have to be aware of all of the tools they are exposed to so that we can help find them a new home, or help them sell theirs. Harnessing how and why they are used by consumers can be a powerful tool for a real estate agent, and staying on top of new ones as they come to market is important to stay ahead of the curve in real estate.
Jennifer Mills Klatt is a real estate broker for the Home Discovery Team at Koenig & Strey Real Living; she can be reached at: