OpinionAgent

Why is shopping for a home so much like dating on the internet?

And what can agents do to help ease consumers' pain?
  • Clients complain about misleading photos or homes that will need too much work to bring up to standards.
  • Should our desire to use adjectives that entice blind us to the reality that all the unbiased public sees is lipstick on a pig?

The real estate event of the summer
Connect with other top producing agents at Connect SF, Aug 7-11, 2017

Disclaimer: I should say upfront that:

  1. I have never dated via the internet, simply because I had the great fortune to scoop up the perfect husband for me 14 years ago, long before match.com.
  2. I am new to real estate, so my opinions may not reflect those with more years or wisdom than I currently possess.

That being said, I must say that more and more, from $300,000 townhomes to $2 million lakefront manses, the process of “shopping” for a home seems to have an awful lot of similarities to finding a mate in the internet era.

I have spent nearly seven of the last 24 hours with two different clients, looking at homes across a range of price points. Here were the common themes I heard from both clients:

  • “They always look so much bigger and better in photos!”
  • “Why should I pick this one when I still have to put a ton more time and work into making it what I want — and who knows the problems I’ll unearth along the way!”

Now, I know that in the real world, people don’t try to mislead potential dates by using Glamour Shots of themselves 10 years ago, 25 pounds lighter or with 50 percent more hair. Doesn’t happen, right?

Why do we see real estate professionals taking great pains to market their listings in such a way that potential buyers are often disappointed as soon as they walk in the door?

Should photos be shot or retouched to the extent that what the buyer sees in person bears little or no resemblance to what they’ve seen online or in a brochure?

Should our desire to use adjectives that entice blind us to the reality that all the unbiased public sees is lipstick on a pig? Is that overpriced “fixer-upper in need of a little TLC” really a tear-down to anyone but Chip and Joanna Gaines?

I know I’m new, but I’m beginning to see why surveys are saying that the general public holds Realtors in such low esteem.

I am convinced that there exists a buyer for each and every home, no matter the price or condition. It’s simply a matter of finding the right match at the right price.

I got into real estate because I have always loved seeing potential in different ways of living, whether a home’s beauty is overt, or a hidden treasure to be unearthed. That’s how I see my job: to help my clients find the best fit for them, and how they want to live, and to help my sellers transition from one season of life to the next.

I’m doing this not to pay my mortgage, but to help find new neighbors in my community who can love living here as much as I do.

Colleen Ludington is a Realtor with Ivester Jackson/Christie’s International, representing homes and buyers in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

Email Colleen Ludington