For today’s home buyers, the first step in the process is usually to hit the Internet. You might use Google or a real estate-specific site like Trulia, Zillow, or to search for available properties, or you may be working with a real estate agent who will send you online listings that meet your requirements for consideration.

Whether you’re using one or both of these methods for your initial search, you’ll discount possibilities that don’t have enough bedrooms, or aren’t in a desired location, or are missing some features you need. You may also decide not to look at a home based on the photos that are posted online with the listing.

This could actually be a mistake that might cost you the opportunity for the perfect new home.

When a picture ISN’T worth a thousand words

The other day, I was showing a home to some potential buyers, who commented that they were so glad they’d come to see it because the pictures didn’t do it justice—the home was better than they’d expected.

Home Buyers Visiting A Home In PersonThis may come as a surprise to real estate agents (like me) who work hard to ensure that their seller clients have excellent, professional-level photos of their home and property to go with their online listings. But it definitely happens. No matter how wonderful the quality of a photo, you can almost always have a different experience when you see something live and in person.

Often, that live experience is better than the photographs.

Seeing is believing

The Internet is a great tool for both sides of the real estate market—buyers and seller alike. As a home buyer, you can use online listings to narrow down your search according to your needs and requirements: which neighborhoods you’d like to move to, how many bedrooms and bathrooms, whether you want an eat-in kitchen or separate dining room, and any must-have extras as well as nice-to-haves.

However, if you rule out possibilities based on photos, you could be missing out on a great home that would be perfect for you. If the photos are the only factor keeping a property off your list, you should always opt to see the house in person—you just might be pleasantly surprised.

It’s great to work with a real estate agent who is familiar with the properties in your desired area. That way, you can rely on a professional opinion to send you listing possibilities that meet your requirements—and warn you away from cases where the photos are actually better than the reality.

If you’re currently looking into the Smith Mountain Lake real estate market, contact me and let me know your requirements today. Take that first step toward finding your dream home!

Debbie Shelton | 540.797.3177 |