Information, misinformation, disinformation — is that last one a type of information? I feel like I’ve come across it…
Anyway, today’s real estate market is increasingly taking down the information barriers, but they’ve also thrown in some red herrings that make the search a bit more difficult.
1. Fake or highly misleading pictures– Ever checked out a place that seemed to have “charming street appeal” that didn’t check out in the flesh? Lots of angles can be misleading.
REMEDY: Use google streetview and maps!
2. Dubious valuations of homes– Getting appraisals online can sometimes be difficult and misleading.
[Y]ou can’t always trust the numbers on home valuation sites such as Zillow, CyberHomes and Realtor.com…I’d estimate the house is worth between $1.2 and $1.4 million. Zillow’s “Zestimate” (a calculation also used by RealEstateABC.com) was $943,000; CyberHomes suggested a range of $960,000 to $1.2 million and Realtor.com went with $788,036. Moneywatch
REMEDY: Try to go offline to get an appraisal done so that every detail of the house can be considered.
3. Mortgage rates YOU can’t get– Rates posted online often assume a certain size of down payment or credit history.
REMEDY: Go to a trusted mortgage broker or banker and get a quote that is customized to your financial situation.
4. Misleading Property Descriptions– You can’t believe everything you read! An ad could claim to have a “beautiful balcony”, but that balcony faces onto a wall.
REMEDY: Do it the old fashioned way! Check the place out for yourself or call the agent (they’re more likely to be forthcoming if they’re talking to an actual person).