The information age is changing the speed and style of our communications; this can be seen in all phases of our lives but has unique negative implications in the real estate market. Obviously everyone wants to have information available to them and real estate information is wide open for anyone to find. Buyers can find homes for sale now in hundreds of places and websites. I don't think this has necessarily been a good change as many of the website's information is out of date or otherwise inaccurate and that's frustrating. As an agent, I really can't control everywhere my information may show up nor if or when any site that may skim my information will ever bother to update it. I'm sure we would all be better served with fewer websites but more reliable ones.
Equally frustrating is the notion, mostly by home buyers, that they should be able to contact any agent at any time and get an instant call back from that agent. This would be less frustrating if the same buyers would have an open conversation about their information, but that's not what they want. I certainly understand that it should be and likely is possible for you to know a home's size, age, bed/bath count or school district information without having to talk to every agent that has a home for sale that you're interested; but you can learn all of this information and more about any home and only have to talk with one agent; if you have a good agent to help you. I can alleviate a lot of your frustration and save you a lot of time too.
For home buyers in particular, an upfront conversation with a quality agent is priceless and critical. You may think you know what you want but having someone ask you some relevant questions about the Why behind your wants can help you and the agent focus on what really does matter to you. It should also help you learn the true market conditions for any given area or price range. In many parts of our region and around the country it's common to say "it's a sellers market" but this is rarely universally true. There are almost always holes in the "norm" of a market. The Puget Sound area had a nearly 75% sale ratio last year; this is extraordinary. Good sellers markets in the past might have hit 60%; but this still means 1/4 of all the homes on the market last year didn't sell . What were those homes and is there any chance you would have liked or wanted one of them? Even if, as was often the case last year, the market really was wholly in the Seller's favor, the up-front communication/consultation would have educated you on how you compete in such circumstances and given you options on how to win without going above your budget, having all cash to buy or taking unnecessary risks that could cost you way too much money in the long run. Communication is critical and needs to be cooperative and open. An Accredited Buyer's Representative, like myself, will show you how to win, if you will talk with us.
My point is, when you're asking someone for information, you may find it more useful and beneficial to ask them for help or recognize that someone trying to understand something about you may truly be able to help you and much more so than by just giving you an answer to a question you thought was most important. Be open to having two way communication. If the agent you called isn't a good fit for you, spend some time to find one who is. We're out there and with 28 years of experience I can help you understand that real estate isn't just about you or me finding a home on line that interests you. There is so much more to buying that home than just finding it but you have to be open to talk with a competent, quality agent to learn what you don't know that might hurt or frustrate you. Don't be afraid of an agent with true knowledge and a desire to teach and help you.
Search on-line; it's fascinating but when you want to buy a home, start with some quality communication with "Your" agent.