Home Buying Online vs. In Person

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Home Buying Faceoff: Online Vs. In-Person


The top real estate agents in Bellevue, WA often see clients who feel faced with a dilemma: should they search for homes online or in person? Here’s a look at the upsides and downsides of both so you can determine which is best for you.


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Pros and Cons of Online Home Searches

Wide Selection

One of the advantages of searching for homes online is the broad selection of properties available. Prospective buyers can see everything for sale in the region, even in places outside of their own search area, which may be helpful for comparison.


Quick Elimination

Looking for a house online lets you eliminate inappropriate properties for you immediately. By using the search functions on various platforms, you can search by geography, size, price, and features with ease.


Time Efficient

Being able to get rid of the wrong properties and see so many possibilities in just a few hours obviously saves on time. For busy professionals or families with kids, this is a clear boon. Plus, you can look in the middle of the night, if you like, whereas conventional house hunting is limited to certain hours.


Hidden Flaws

One of the greatest disadvantages to house hunting online is that you may not be shown flaws with the property. Photos online are carefully chosen to show off the best parts of the home so you don’t see the rickety deck or horribly outdated family bath.


May Not Be Updated

Listings online may or may not be updated. You may not know about price changes or features that have been upgraded since the house was put on the market. You might pass over properties that are right for you, or you may get your heart set on a property with a now inaccurate data sheet.


No Knowledge of Neighborhood

Unless you are intimately knowledgeable about your search area, looking at homes online gives you no idea about their respective neighborhoods. Is the house next door a nightmare? Is there a noisy school across the street? Will traffic disturb your enjoyment of the home? Who knows?


Advantages and Disadvantages of In-Person Home Searches

First-Hand Experience

When you look at a house in person, some of the problems mentioned above are solved. You can see any new features immediately, as well as any flaws. You’ll also get a good sense of the home--what would it feel like to live there? Are there any strange off-putting odors? How bright is it inside on a sunny day?

Opportunity to Check Out the Environment

You can also check out the neighborhood when you see a home in person. You’ll be able to answer a lot of questions, like:

• Is there a lot of traffic or noise in the area?
• How well are nearby homes kept up?
• What is on-street parking like?
• What does the community feel like?
• What kind of non-residential buildings and amenities are in the vicinity?
• How far is the home from work and/or school?


Broker Assistance

Naturally, when you look at a home in person, you get the benefit of having a broker with you. You can ask questions about things like taxes or repairs and get valuable information about comparable properties. With top Bellevue real estate agents at your side, you can even jump on the perfect home and get an offer started.

Listing Verified

In-person house hunting lets you verify that everything in the listing is actually correct. You can check out how many cars the garage fits, whether the home is indeed “light and bright,” and if it seems “move-in ready.”


Chance to Measure Dimensions


Listings online may or may not have a floor plan included with dimensions. However, when you look at a home in person, you can get exact measurements for all the rooms. You can even bring measuring tape to ensure that a valuable piece of your furniture will fit.


Time Consuming

Really, the only downside to house hunting in person is that it is much more time consuming than looking online. You have to take the time to speak with the broker, to drive to the property, and to tour the entire home. You have to work within the hours showings are available, which may not be convenient.

So, which type of house hunting is better: online or in person? Why not do both? You can start your search online to get a sense of what’s available in your market. Then, when you’re ready to tour homes for sale in Bellevue, WA, call your broker and go see a selection in person. You put your time and energy into viewing the homes most likely to meet your needs but still get all the advantages of a live tour and broker assistance.