In today's market home-shoppers tend to select a real estate agent based on a chance encounter at an open house or a friend-in-the-business referral. High-Tech home-shoppers, on the other hand, do their homework, contact several successful agents and prepare lists of questions to ask these agents during how-can-you-help-me-buy-a-home interviews. Some of the questions should concern how involved the agent is in the high-tech aspects of real estate. All other qualifications being equal, here are six reasons why a tech-savvy agent can be a good bet.
Internet buyers purchased homes at the median price of $452,000, compared to $310,000 for traditional buyers.
It's no secret that the Web contains massive amounts of pertinent, informative and helpful information about real property and the business of real estate. A high-tech agent can find neighborhood profiles, mortgage qualifying calculators, real estate news, markets trends reports and much more with a few mouse clicks.
First-time home buyers, in particular, need to educate themselves about the wide world of home-buying and homeownership. A high-tech agent can recommend Web resources that explain everything from how to shop for a mortgage and why you need title insurance to how to pack your belongings and where to get seeds for your vegetable garden.
The top three Web site types visited by Internet buyers during the home buying process were real estate companies' Web sites (82 percent), Realtor.com (73 percent), and individual real estate agents' Web sites (67 percent).
The days of squinting at tiny blurry pictures in a proprietary MLS book, then driving around for hours in the agent's car are fast coming to an end. A high-tech agent can point you to the best and biggest house-hunting Web sites and use e-mail to zap new listings that meet your criteria directly to you.
A higher proportion of Internet buyers, 11 percent, were first-time home buyers, compared to 6 percent of traditional buyers.
E-mail is becoming a popular means of communication for real estate agents, who use it to promote their listings to one another and keep in touch with market developments. In some communities, agents who don't use e-mail are falling out of the loop.
A few of real estate companies and organizations are vying with one another to be the first to launch a truly comprehensive real estate transaction service on the Web. These networks of real estate service providers promise to reduce paperwork, speed up communication and bring buyers and sellers to the virtual closing table faster than ever before.