The internet has greatly affected the way we buy and sell property. But is it the be-all and end-all?
Like so many other things in life the internet has changed the residential property market forever. Today the internet is the first place most people go to find out the important information they need to help them on their way to buying or selling a property. Before the internet the first place to go was an estate agent’s office.
The internet shows what is on the market. It provides valuable price comparisons and illustrates what type of property is available in certain locations in all price categories. This is vital information for both seller and/or buyer. It now seems hard to believe that this information was not so readily available only a decade ago.
The internet alerts buyers to new properties that have come onto the market. It advertises available property to a wider audience than ever before, it informs about neighbourhoods, even down to the crime rate. Yes, the internet has become a truly wonderful tool for buyers, sellers and estate agents.
Yet it would be easy to get carried away about the internet, thinking that it has become the only tool now needed in the home selling and buying game. But it is as well to consider what the internet won’t do.
The internet won’t put the correct price on a property, While it will tell buyers what is on the market it won’t tell them what is just about to come on the market. The internet won’t write the words that best describe a property, nor will it persuade someone to go and view a property against their first instinct not to. It won’t negotiate a price, overcome objections or deal with everyday selling crises like someone losing a mortgage or receiving a negative survey report. It won’t pacify the angry or reassure the worried. The internet won’t take a nervous buyer or seller by the hand and lead him through the whole process, nor will it handle the arrogant and bombastic who try to bully their way through a deal.
Yes, the internet is a great thing. But it is only a tool to provide information and to give more widespread coverage. It is a tool like the local newspaper, a For Sale board, an estate agent’s window, the telephone, the Royal Mail and email. Marketing tools are important but, once they have been used well, the process of buying and selling property is still down to people.
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