Smartphones are no substitute for educated Realtors

Special to The Hilton Head Island PacketMay 11, 2014 

Consumers have seen so much advancement in the world of technology, that it begs the question: where does real estate fit?  It is reported that 90 percent of all consumers start their real estate search online. Today, consumers can open an app on their smartphone and locate nearby properties for sale. They can also view pictures, tax records, and details about the property. Some real estate websites and apps offer an estimate market value tool.  

Recently, one of my Realtors told me how frustrating it is to unravel what a consumer believes to be an accurate estimate value of a property.  These tools do not take into consideration the location of a property or whether it has a golf, oceanfront or lagoon view. The tool does not take into account the condition of the property or any recent renovations (new roof, new HVAC, new kitchen) to the home. There is more that goes into correctly pricing a property. It’s not just about taking an area and calculating an average price.

Market-wide numbers are well and good, but they don’t always tell the full story.  Breaking down the data to show activity by price range, property type or construction status can often lead to more meaningful insights.  For the 12-month period spanning April 2013 through March 2014, pending sales around the Hilton Head Island region were up 6.4 percent overall. The price range with the largest gain in sales was the $375,001 to $650,000 range, which increased 21.6 percent. 

While technology has its place in today’s real estate world, it cannot replace the work of a Realtor. A licensed Realtor has the knowledge to tell buyers about the local market and lifestyles, including offering accurate area market reports. 

Not every licensee is a Realtor. A Realtor abides by a strict code of ethics, and is a member of the National Association of Realtors. If you are buying or selling real estate, ask if your agent is Realtor and a member of the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors.

Jean Beck is executive vice president of the Hilton Head Area Association of Realtors.

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