Fuzzy Math & misleading listings: Who’s a DIY homebuyer or FSBO to trust?

Glad Boston.com’s real estate blogger kicked off the New Year by challenging an assumption anyone buying or selling a home in 2013 may make to price their home or make an offer. Beyond the main lesson—don’t assume listing sites provide accurate info—are other learning opportunities. Here’s a partial list of teaching points for consumers, particularly DIY homeowners and anyone who might sell “for sale by owner”:

1.  Like reputation management, the burden of maintaining an accurate description of your home falls upon you.

2.  In the future, the Internet of Things could either make this process easier or laced with more misleading information.

3.  Until then, there are some early apps which allow you do define, monitor, update and correct what you own and more will be forthcoming.

4.  Don’t dismiss the importance of a good photo, or assume that online listing sites or street view maps on Google or Bing have photos that flatter your home. Even if you don’t sell for years, there’s no reason you cannot begin taking those photos NOW and include images from all four seasons. Begin compiling your own house history, particularly if you’ve spent hundreds of thousands to improve it.

5.  While your at it, why not begin to create and maintain an inventory everything you own, both for insurance purposes and to decide what to shed, particularly if downsizing or decluttering is on your New Year’s Resolution list. Again, there are a number of apps to simplify the process including one launched recently by a start-up in Boston.

6.  Finally, if you’re thinking of selling, refinancing or contesting your property taxes in 2013—or just like using accurate data to make important, costly decisions—and you can learn more about the limits of online valuation and listing site by reading an article published by SmartMoney Magazine 13 months ago entitled:  The Fuzzy Math of Home Valuations.  

The Real Estate Cafe is glad to introduce you to some of the apps described above informally over coffee, during a small group demo offline or online.  Which would you prefer?  

Posted in Buyer agent, Consumer protection, Defensive Homebuying, DIY Homebuyers, Do-it-yourself, FSBO: Best Practices, FSBO: For Sale By Owner, Real Estate Roundtables, reVRM, Tech Trends

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