Lancaster County PA Realty Check: Why You Need a LOCAL Real Estate Agent

Why You Need a LOCAL Real Estate Agent

houseThere are several country-wide internet sources that purport to give you a long-distance estimate of what your home is worth.  Many of these sources rely on public records and owners' estimates of what their homes are worth.

I'd like to give you a glaring example of why many of these estimates are almost useless and even dangerous.

Zillow.com sent me an "update" on April 28 of a Lancaster, PA city listing that I had sold earlier this year.  The house had been in need of renovation, and sold, in a slow market, for $36,000.

Here's Zillow's analysis: 

Recently Sold:  $36,000.                     

Owner's estimate of value:  $89,937.

"Zestimate":   $66,000.

Value Range:  $37,620. - $70,620. 

Can you see why a local REALTOR, familiar with the neighborhood and the local real estate market, might be useful?

 

I've been involved with Lancaster County, PA real estate for over 30 years.  If I can help you, please let me know! 

 

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Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buying and selling homes in Lancaster County, PA.  To learn more, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/

 

 

Brian Schulman offers expert real estate representation for buyers and sellers of homes in Lancaster County, PA.  To learn more, visit http://www.FindLancasterHomes.com/

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Comment balloon 17 commentsBrian Schulman • May 01 2008 09:31PM

Comments

These sites are NOT real estate sites.  They are web sites that use a gimmic to generate traffic which sells advertising.  What they offer is impossible to deliver.  The consumer doesn't know the difference. 

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 11 years ago
Brian - I totally agree, certain details will not come to light unless you are personally familiar with the location.
Posted by Jennifer Fivelsdal, Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection ( JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571) over 11 years ago
Brian, I agree, thanks for pointing this out!
Posted by Tony & Darcy Cannon, The C Team (Aubrey and Associates Realty) over 11 years ago

I think buyers should come to my listings with zestinots and use those for buying prices.

Posted by Gene Allen, Realty Consultant for Cary Real Estate (Fathom Realty) over 11 years ago

Consumers don't know any better.  What drives me nuts when appraisers use similar computer generated avenues for conducting appraisals. 

Posted by Jeannie Kontis over 11 years ago
I'd like to know how they come up with their figures? Any idea?
Posted by Joan Mirantz, Realtor, GRI, CBR, SRES - Concord New Hampshire (Homequest Real Estate) over 11 years ago
Lenn, you're exactly right.  This is not a real estate site.  Maybe unreal estate...
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 11 years ago
Jennifer, this is as clear an example as I've ever seen of what happens when an estimate is made from long distance!
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 11 years ago

Tony & Darcy, thanks for stopping by!

Gene, I don't even think they're useful for buying purposes, much less selling purposes. 

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 11 years ago

Jeannie, if an appraiser uses such computer generated data, they're doing their clients a disservice.

Joan, they have a algorithm which they feed with public data, owner input and multilist information. 

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 11 years ago
Couldn't agree more - but I would add a couple of qualifiers.  Using a local agent does not guarantee that the market value is any more realistic than Zillow or any other algorithmic source.  Being an honest, knowledgeable local expert does, if the agent really knows what they are doing and honestly assesses market values.  Not all agents do.  Unfortunately, "buying" listings is an all-too-common occurrence in our local area (for newbies: "buying" a listing is taking a listing based on an inflated market value just to get the listing).  
Posted by John Gray, McKenzie Valley Realtor (Windermere Real Estate) over 11 years ago

Hi Brian,

I agree with John and Susan....not all local 'experts' are honest and knowledgeable and I've come across many estimates lately that were given either by dishonest or unknowledgeable agents who were hoping to get the listing. Unfortunately it is the consumer who ends up losing out in the long run when they list their property with one of these  agents and it sits forever, eventually undergoing numerous reductions before finally selling below what it would have sold if it had of been priced right in the beginning.

Perhaps an article on how to weed out the honest and reliable agents from the dishonest? I'm not familiar with zestimates, however they seem to fall into the 'misleading' category. 

Jo 

Posted by Jo-Anne Smith over 11 years ago
Brian - I think Lenn hits the nail on the head when it comes to these sites.  Their a neat little 'Internet Toy' and that's about it at the end of the day.
Posted by Jason Sardi, Your Agent for Life (Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina) over 11 years ago

John & Susan, I totally agree.  My point was that distant internet sites are suspect for the purposes of getting accurate market values - not that all local agents are equally good.  "Buying" a listing by promising the seller an unrealistically high market value can only lead to disappointment for all parties involved.

The sellers won't get their home sold if they're asking an unrealistic price, the agent won't get paid. 

I spend a good deal of my time (1) improving my own knowledge, and (2) trying to demonstrate to the public why choosing me as their local agent, out of all the many other local agents, would be a good decision!  Not all agents are equal, any more than all attorneys, restaurants, or auto mechanics are equal.

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 11 years ago
That is why we rely on local agents to work our referrals.  No one knows the local market like a local agent!!
Posted by Clint Miller (Real Estate Pipeline, Inc.) over 11 years ago

Jo,

Again, I totally agree with both your comment and John & Susan's comments.  I do have a concern, though, about doing blogs on how to weed out dishonest or unknowledgeable practitioners. 

First of all, I don't want to imply that any other agent, especially my local competitors, would fall into such a category.  There is a wide range of  both experience and expertise among real estate agents. 

My emphasis is on why buyers and sellers should choose me as their agent, rather than why they shouldn't choose someone else!

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 11 years ago
Clint, agreed, there is no comparison between a non-local algorithm and a competent local agent (or appraiser).
Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) over 11 years ago

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