Online Shopping For Homes

Online Shopping For Homes

My wife and I are Prime members...So, we shop online at no less than two times per month. With our busy schedules, shopping online is sometimes the only way to make sure we have what we need, when we need it. I know that we're not alone in the need to shop online; with great websites out there like Zillow and Realtor, it's easy to see what properties are currently available in the area. But, is it enough for buyers to just shop for homes online?

Get the Picture

Viewing the pictures of listings online is a great way to get a sense of the home's personality. Though, there is a need to mention the potential for photography to alter depth-perception. While seeing the features in the photographs is helpful when narrowing down prospective homes, our minds have a tendency to interpret the space we see in a picture differently than actually being in the space. Whether our minds make the subject bigger, smaller, brighter, darker, or anything other than it actually is, nothing gives you the real feel of the home until you're there in person. 

For example: 

When my wife and I saw pictures from a listing, she thought the home looked like a good possibility and I thought it didn't look like enough space for us. This home is the one we ended up purchasing. One of the reasons why we went with this home is because when we actually standing in the house with our realtor, it was bigger than it appeared in the pictures. We also needed to truly see the house in order to see the potential it held. The photos online were just photos to me. I needed to be able to stand in this house to get the real picture!


The internet has a lot of information to offer and you can get a lot of questions answered from a simple search. The question is, Are we able to understand those answers? There are a lot of terms and acronyms in Real Estate and the related - Financing, Inspections, etc. My wife and I tried understanding from looking up our questions online, then we thought we understood after a bit of reading. When going through the process, it was easy to see that we did not completely understand until it was explained by the experts. Now that I'm a Real Estate Salesperson, I understand more thoroughly; but I remember a lot of concepts being incredibly confusing until it was explained by a real person in front of me, instead of reading web page after web page.

Possible Issues

While a home inspection is always recommended, the report may not record any issues on a personal level. Holding a home inspection would check structural/mechanical, mold, radon, etc. Allergens, on the other hand, may not be noticed of tested for. For example, if you're allergic to cats, the lingering allergens may not be recognized without visiting the property in person. Luckily, my wife and I aren't allergic to cigarette smoke, but we noticed it during the first showing and were able to get rid of it with some deep cleaning and repainting after settlement.

In Conclusion

I have met some folks who have purchased a home without setting foot in it before settlement. The purchase was not the end of their world, but they did tell me that they wish they would have made a trip to see the property before placing the offer. While it may be difficult or inconvenient to walk through a potential home, it is certainly the best way to make certain you are finding what you're looking for and to ensure the property in question meets your criteria. So, hop off the screen and step through the property.

Happy house hunting!

Ryan Pearson Headshot
Phone: 304-839-7926
Dated: July 7th 2018
Views: 176
About Ryan: Ryan Pearson was born right here in Frederick, and grew up in Western Maryland. He studied Business ...

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