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Is Social Media Changing Real Estate?

Zillow, Google Earth…

Social media has revolutionized the way home buyers search for and buy homes. People can now search online from the comfort of their home, neighborhood walkability scores, aerial real-time images of the neighborhood on Zillow and Google Earth, and even in some cases, take online virtual 3D tours of a property before ever stepping foot inside. However, while all these tools are very good guides, they shouldn’t be solely relied upon.

A person in the market to buy or sell a property should seek out the services of a reputable, experienced, real estate agent. A computer will never take the place of a professional who knows how to stage the home optimally, market, negotiate, and fill out paperwork to protect either the buyer or the seller. A home purchase or sale is potentially the biggest investment or divestment you will make in a lifetime. Therefore while the internet makes the real estate venture seem simple, it’s far from an uncomplicated process. Professionals are there to make it look easy, but the best real estate agents know that it takes years of experience to succeed in the fast moving and ultra-competitive world of real estate.

In a recent article on Fox Business titled, How Social Media is Changing the Way We Buy and Sell Homes, Brad Officer, a realtor in Florida, says that while the internet offers tools for buying and selling that were never before available, it should never be a replacement for a real estate agent.

While social media gives buyers more tools to find homes, they shouldn’t wait too long to get their agent involved… At some point, a buyer has to shut down the computer, put down the iPhone, and start visiting the homes for sale.

And in the same article, Marilyn Urso, owner of Long Island Village Realty in Syosset, N.Y., says that social media is also important for an agent to stay competitive:

…buyers want to see detailed images, videos and floor plans before stepping foot into a home…clients want to see tweets from realtors about the market, mortgage rates or what it takes to own a home–not just marketing filler about a new property.

Working in Tandem

Ideally, when a real estate agent and client are working well in tandem, social media is a must. It can be helpful in terms of the immediacy it offers buyers and agents so that the agent can better target the home search. An agent can now post pictures on Pinterest in real-time of a particular property or an upcoming open house or perhaps even a specific request like a chef’s kitchen or a cool bathroom with a pedestal bath tub. And the feedback from the client is instantaneous. In this way the real estate agent can cut the search time in half by better understanding the clients’ tastes.

A ‘Real’ Social Media Professional

Ultimately, you need an actual living, breathing real estate agent to handle all of your real estate transactions. But when you do the research to find one, make certain that s/he is indeed a relevant presence on social media. If not, you might want to reconsider this choice because just as you should be able to look up properties, you should also be able to find information about your broker including testimonials, recent sales and listings as well as view quality pictures. Choose a real estate professional who values the in person negotiation, marketing and staging techniques and the benefits of social media.

If you are thinking of buying or selling your home in Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks or the surrounding areas, contact real estate agent Lydia Gable today for a consultation.

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