The internet can be hazardous to your wealth

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Well, they have put the world at your fingertips. You can sit back like Beethoven and create your own symphony of information in the privacy of your home. Let’s be honest, you can do the same at your desk at work. You can surf to your hearts content. Google has become the replacement for Encyclopedia Britannica and the World Book. Have a question, ………………..just like the “lame duck” on Pennsylvania Avenue, you can use the “Google”. All the information in the world is at your fingertips. Everything!

Well, not everything grasshopper.

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You won’t find guaranteed information about the future on the internet. Oh, you may read the best of prognostications, but none of them are guaranteed. You can ferret out all the facts, but they only give an indication of tomorrow. Those that follow sports need only recheck the predictions and final score of the most recent super bowl.

In my little corner of the world, I share time with other agents and we actually discuss the impact of the internet on our industry. Young folks might be surprised to learn that for the longest time, listings of homes were only available in the listing brokers office.

The world was smaller back then and consisted of small towns and neighboring rural areas. There were fewer Realtors. Most of the time, word of mouth was sufficient. The world became bigger. Neighborhoods grew. There were more agents and they came up with a system of sharing information about listings with each other. Offices now had books with all the listings from all the agents in the area.

If someone wanted to know about homes for sale, they could visit any office and inquire. Sounds archaic and by today’s standards, it was. The move to the internet and putting all listings in the Multiple Listing Service took time as Brokers were convinced they should pry their fingers from this “top secret” proprietary information.

There were two major results of this accomplishment. One, the Brokers began to believe that their intrinsic value was in the listings. Two, Brokers followed that misunderstanding with the sale of all the “private” information to any on line service that requested the information. For years, they had told the public that only agents should have this information and only agents could understand the information. (You have to admit…square feet is a pretty tricky thing to comprehend.) Then, in one fell “money grubbing” swoop, they dumped all the information on the internet.

It is not labeled as such, but dear God this truly screams….CAVEAT EMPTOR

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You do not live in a virtual world. Well, maybe some of you true geeks are lost in the dark corner of your basement, but this blog is not for you. If you are thinking that maybe it is time to come up for air…….here’s a clue.

If your significant other resembles this

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there is a world right up those steps that will put your fantasy play land to shame.

I digress. Where was I? O.K., it is a real world and all the information gleaned from all the websites can not take the place of practical experience.

I am talking houses and neighborhoods and communities. You can read all about it……………being there is fact. You can click till your fingers blister and eyes glaze over. Virtual tours are just that…..virtual tours.

All the listing information…words…pictures…..etc. are created by the listing agent.

Hello…..do your think they will slap a picture of the rush hour backup on the site? Do you believe that they will do their best to show the homes accurately? Agents are some of the best photographers around. They can take a 8X10 bedroom and make it look like a ballroom.

All right, I will accept they are not the smartest photographers on the planet. They seem to have a bathroom fetish instilled in real estate school and persist in including a picture of a toilet in most virtual tours. (A fun drinking game when viewing virtual tours is to take a drink every time a toilet appears. You will get hammered and begin to see the pathetic humor in their inclusion.)

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I am here to tell you that the entire move to making all the listings available to anyone with a computer has a very insidious backside. Brokers screamed so long and loud that they needed to protect this information….they failed to share that the true value of the agents begins with separating the chafe from the grain and providing their clients with a reasonable list of homes that fit their personal needs.

You can search from now till the democrats decide on a stimulus package, you will just be gathering information.

Real agents have actually been in the homes. Real agents have actually been in the neighborhoods. Real agents have actually experienced the commuting routes. Real agents will gladly go through your desires and needs and match those things against available homes and provide you with an intelligent short list. It is not hard to find the right home if you use the right tools. The internet is a portal into information.

The right tool is a living, breathing agent.

Call me….301-509-5111

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