The amount of information available on the Internet about homes is incredible. Recently I searched my address on Google Maps and noticed that their satellite mapped my property while we were in the process of rebuilding our fence and we were only half finished with the process.
The Internet makes it possible for consumers to do a search on a home several states away and possibly find recent sales information, the tax record, a photo, tour the neighborhood, and much more. All of this information is a great resource, especially when relocating to a brand new area on a short timeframe, but consumers need to be aware that the information they find may not be entirely correct.
There are many websites out there providing a variety of information about real estate. However, be cautious with that information. For example, Texas is a “non-disclosure” state, therefore home sale prices do not have to be disclosed to third parties. Non-disclosure makes it difficult for third party websites to paint an accurate picture of a home’s value in those areas. Zillow is one that gives consumers a lot of information quickly and easily and they acknowledge that their “zestimates” are not always able to be completely accurate due to the information available to them. They give an accuracy rating on their “zestimates” in different areas, http://www.zillow.com/zestimate/#acc. The ratings range from one to five stars, letting the consumer know that in some areas their data is less accurate than in other areas.
When looking at third party real estate websites be mindful that what you read on the Internet may not be the whole story. Coupling online research with a local real estate expert who is actively working in that market can help clarify questions and misconceptions.
Google has updated their satellite image of my home, so you can now see that we did finish our fence. Yes, if you ask my neighbors, it took us quite a while but we did finish long before the satellite map was updated.
Laura Jensen – Client Service Manager
Heritage Texas Properties