Shopping for Real Estate on the Internet – Virtual Drive By

February 24, 2010
Technology is certainly changing the world of real estate. The National Association of Realtors reports that 84% of consumers will use the internet in finding their next home. I believe that, as I find my website traffic for The Lake Wylie Man increasing day by day, and many of my customer inquiries and phone calls coming from the internet. 

One real estate agent in our office, who loves to keep us up to date on fun, helpful, and sometimes silly diversions via email, sent a link to Google’s Virtual Turnpike. This is a site where you can type in any address in the U.S. (and several other countries as well), and see a photographed street view of the location. You can see traffic conditions, surroundings, etc. as you pan around and even do a virtual drive-by.

I thought it would be cool to add this link to my property web pages for Lake Wylie Real Estate for Sale, until I typed in a few addresses of my listed properties, just to take a look. Many of the lake properties (especially in more remote areas, as some lake properties tend to be), the Virtual Turnpike has not photographed yet, so I was out of luck on those.

Those that did have photographs, however,¬†were subject to lighting conditions, timing, and things that weren’t always optimal to portray the property accurately. For instance, one address was taken when there was a new house being built across the street. The road was muddy from construction vehicles, and the Port-a-John in the scene did absolutely nothing to highlight the charm of the half-million dollar home I am trying to sell!

Another property had pictures taken not long after the home was completed, and lots of bald patches in the lawn (since grown in thanks to the irrigation system and landscaping efforts of the seller!) didn’t present the property in the best light.

Yet another home had a shot on the street of a pickup truck driving by. The truck was probably 20+ years old, had rust spots and looked pretty rough. Not typical of the neighborhood, mind you, but there it was, marking the area’s personality until an update is done, whenever that might be! One address had pictures taken on garbage pick-up day, and trash cans (with white trash bags sitting atop, no less) graced the curbs . . . again, not the prettiest picture!

So – – virtual drive by’s – – a fun diversion, a handy tool for a slice of life . . . but one to be taken with the realization that the photo may capture things that are not permanent fixtures! Of course, in real estate photography, we do attempt to show a property in its very best light. We try to take pictures when the sun is “just so”, lighting the best angle (though that’s not always possible). We sometimes move the trash cans out of the way, if they’re in the shot. We really, really try not to have any Port-a-John’s in the photo.

Bottom line, though a vast majority of people shop for real estate on the internet, very few BUY real estate without first visiting the property in person. I can’t imagine that changing! And as you will realize, that ACTUAL visit makes all the difference.

Thanks for reading my blog on Lake Wylie real estate. For more blogs about Lake Wylie waterfront and living in Lake Wylie, visit my website.