The Downsides of Real Estate Apps

The Downsides of Real Estate Apps



At every open house I host, I do an informal poll as visitors enter: how did you hear about us today? Did you see my sign while you were driving by? Did you use a real estate app? Which one?


9 out of 10 use an app.


(RedFin seems to be the winner.)


The apps are useful and an easy way for buyers to vet available properties and for sellers to keep tabs on what's happening in their local market.


But let's not lose sight of the fact that those photos we all love to scroll through are marketing materials.


Real estate photographers use lighting and specific angles to make rooms appear brighter and larger. And, as photos, can only show a portion of a room or lot.


Don't rely solely on the photos to rule out a property. If a property is in your budget and hits your must-haves, or doesn't include your deal-breakers, it is well worth a visit.


Another tip: don't rely solely on RedFin or Zillow to scan available properties, thinking you'll approach a realtor when you find a property you want to buy.


It is estimated that in some mid-Peninsula communities close to 30%--or more--of properties are sold off-market.


An off-market listing can range from a true Private Exclusive to something called MLS Coming Soon or even MLS Members.


Private Exclusives are only visible to agents within one brokerage whereas both MLS Coming Soon and Members Only are visible to all realtors, but not the public. 


Meaning they never make it to RedFin or Zillow.


Why do sellers chose these off-market routes? They may prefer privacy and want to skip the pressure of prepping a home for market and hosting open houses--or weathering drive-by lookers.


Especially if they are still living in the home.


Or, they and their agent may want to test the market to see if their pricing is accurate and to gauge interest.


Some of these properties never make it to MLS and get sold as an off-market.


Others proceed to market the home in a traditional MLS Listing after a period of time.


Importantly, all of these routes don't count as Days on Market--which can significantly impact a buyer's perception. One could have 3 weeks as an off-market or Coming Soon, and 7 days on MLS, but it would only be tracked as 7 days on market...


All of which is to say that it is in your best interest to reach out to a realtor early on so that she knows what you're looking for.


She can flag potential off-markets for you while you simultaneously peruse your favorite app.


Otherwise, you may be missing out on some amazing properties...


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Whether you're looking to buy or sell, Jessie is here to guide you through every step of the way.

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