Buying a house isn’t easy. Ask anybody that’s ever bought one and they’ll tell you the hardest part is finding the perfect property.
Negotiations, bidding, and offers are nothing compared to locating the house of your dreams.
Buying a house that’s less than perfect can be a cause of anxiety and depression for some people.
Due to time constraints or pressure to move out of their current house, some buyers settle for less and purchase properties that aren’t exactly right for them.
In such cases, individuals end up selling again shortly after moving in.
To save yourself the hassle of needing to sell up and move again in the future, find the property that’s right for you from the very beginning.
In order to do this you need to find a reliable property search platform. More buyers than ever are using smaller platforms over major ones.
It’s no secret that major search platforms have lots of problems; using them can be an absolute nightmare.
If you are interested in buying a house and want to find the one that’s right for you then in all honesty it is probably better to use a small platform instead of a big one. This post will tell you why:
Consumer Privacy Concerns
As an internet user, privacy should be one of your main concerns; it is no secret that hacking and cybercrime are more prevalent than ever.
With more people using the internet than at any time in recorded history, it’s not hard to see why what is causing the uptick in crime.
Using major search platforms can lead to your data being stolen, sold, and used without your permission.
One organization that’s notorious for this is Zillow. The Zillow Group owns many of the web’s largest property search platforms.
There is a multitude of Zillow alternatives sweeping the US right now. Finding the one that is right for you is the best way to avoid Zillow’s nefarious consumer data policies.
Many of the individuals unfortunate enough to use Zillow’s platforms have ended up receiving unsolicited marketing emails.
Spam emails can be more than an annoyance, they can border on harassment; the victims of targeted marketing campaigns are sometimes forced to change email addresses.
Searching for a new house should be a pleasant, enjoyable experience. Using a platform that does not take steps to protect your information can be nightmarish, however.
Make sure to research the platforms you are planning on using and if you have the time to, read their privacy policies.
Bear in mind that in privacy policies it’s common for companies like Zillow to conceal their true intentions with big words and confusing sentences.
Inaccurate Property Listings
Inaccurate property listings are one of the most common problems reported by users of major search platforms.
Because platforms of immense size are harder for administrators to regulate, inaccurate listings end up being posted.
Sometimes realty agencies post duplicates too. Looking for a new house can be stressful as it is without having to deal with inaccurate listings and duplicates.
Every time you make an enquiry on a listing that’s inaccurate you waste a bit more of your time. Time is short, especially if you are under time constraints and need to move.
When you use smaller platforms there are much tighter controls and regulations in place which prevent agents from being able to post inaccurate listings.
Usually, agents are required to provide some kind of proof that their listing is an accurate representation of the property that’s being marketed.
Large platforms have no such controls in place; it is for this reason that you are more likely to find a misrepresented property on a larger platform than on a smaller one.
Large platforms just have too much to do and therefore cannot devote all of their agents’ time to looking through listings and determining what’s genuine and what isn’t.
If you are using a platform regardless of the size you need to take time to report inaccurate or outdated listings.
If you do not make an effort to notify your chosen platform’s administrators of dead listings and links then you are contributing to the problem; while on small ones it is very unlikely there will be listings of this kind posted, sometimes they get through.
In instances where they do not report them means you are essentially allowing other people’s time to be wasted again in the future; reporting a listing is straightforward and doesn’t take long at all.
Outdated Listings Posted
As mentioned in the previous point, sometimes outdated listings are posted. Outdated listings can be a massive waste of your time.
When you find a house that you like the obvious thing to do is reach out to the realtor.
Pursuing this course of action every time you find a listing that’s outdated, you will cost yourself hours of your time and potentially days if you are waiting for the realty agency to get back to you.
On smaller sites, you do not have to worry as much about outdated listings because realtors are more on top of what’s going on and so too are site admins.
When you end up applying to view a property that is no longer available it is important to notify the platform you are using of this.
You should also ask the realtor responsible for marketing the property to take the listing down.
Sometimes realtors accidentally leave listings of properties that are no longer available up.
Bringing the fact that they have to their attention could help them just as much as it could help you.
Some property search platforms punish realtors with outdated listings as a deterrent to them being posted; smaller ones are more known for this than larger ones.
As a general rule if a realtor does not get back to you within the day after a property enquiry has been made the listing is no longer available.
You can call them and get an immediate answer instead of leaving an online message; the downside to leaving a message is that even when properties are available they take longer to yield responses.
Making phone calls is the best thing to do if you are interested in a house as it allows the realtor to register your interest immediately.
Delays In Realty Responses
When you are using large platforms you need to remember that realtors are likely receiving large volumes of interest in the properties that they list.
When a realtor’s inundated with messages, phone calls, and emails they are less likely to be able to find the time to respond to you right away.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph the best way to get a response when you are interested in a house is to call a realtor directly instead of leaving messages; messages can be overlooked or ignored when there is a lot of interest in a specific property.
Calling realty agencies directly is the best way of getting interest registered in properties. It’s also the best way to secure a property by putting down a holding deposit.
As a general rule property companies require holding deposits if buyers are interested in reserving houses.
Being the first person to call means you will be able to secure a property and temporarily take it off of the market.
Calling up is the best way to do this as they can take payment over the phone. If you send an email or message, by the time the realtor gets around to looking at it somebody else could have called.
In terms of messaging, one of the main advantages of using smaller platforms is that it’s easier to get responses from realtors on them.
As small platforms do not usually lead to realtors being spammed with emails and messages it’s easier for them to keep track of who’s interested in houses they have listed.
Sending emails and messages is only ever something you should do when you are using small platforms and even then it is still a good idea to make phone calls; phone calls are the most effective way of determining availability.
Finding The Perfect House
It is not easy finding the perfect house. When you are searching for somewhere to buy it’s much easier to use smaller platforms because the listings you see on them are likely to be accurate and not already sold.
Smaller platforms also have much stricter post requirements meaning that realtors have to add a lot more detail to their listings than they do on larger platforms; stricter requirements also make it more difficult for realtors to get away with posting the bare minimum and not updating properties when they have been sold or reserved.
An advantage of using smaller platforms that are commonly overlooked is the fact that they tend to have much more specific filters and search features for you to use; when you are using a small property site the ability to customize your searches according to specific locations or property types makes your life a lot more difficult.
Many larger property platforms do not have these features mainly because they already have a monopoly over the industry so arrogantly feel as though it’s not necessary for them to make updates and changes to their platforms and websites.
One of the only disadvantages of using smaller platforms is that they do not tend to have smartphone apps.
Most people search for properties using their mobile devices nowadays. Not having smartphone apps makes it harder for small platforms to make themselves appeal to the average buyer; mobile apps are a much more convenient way to search for properties as they prevent you from having to deal with the complexities and annoyances of browsers.
That being said as long as a property platform is optimized for mobile use it will still be able to attract a large audience and online following.
Receiving Email Alerts
Smaller platforms tend more often than not to have email alert features. While large platforms do have these it is common for them to break or not work.
Sometimes on large platforms, email alerts do not come through because realtors post properties with different or unusual tags.
Smaller platforms tend to encourage realtors to post properties of a certain kind with specific tags in them so that they are discoverable by their users.
The use of tags is a lot more common on small platforms as it helps them to make their services stand out against larger platforms, which can be a nightmare to use.
Customer Support Agents
Another advantage of using smaller sites is that they usually have much more diligent customer service agents.
What you have to understand about small sites is that because larger ones have control over the industry, they have to take steps to make themselves better than their larger competitors.
To do this they have to introduce things lacking from larger sites. One thing that’s distinctly lacking from a number of large property platforms is customer support; it can take hours or even days to get enquiries responded to.
Smaller platforms usually have numbers people can call for support and they are more responsive via live chat and email.
Online Property Scams
Unfortunately, cybercrime is more common than ever. As a consequence, it’s not uncommon for scammers to post listings on property platforms.
On large platforms, realtors are able to get verified without much information being asked of them. This then means that scammers can get accounts on these platforms, using them for fraud.
When you use small sites you don’t have to worry about this happening because there are much more rigorous checks in place, ensuring the realtors posting properties are all genuine and licensed.
The property searching process can be a stressful one if a reliable platform isn’t found and used.
If you are looking for your first house then you need to take time and find somewhere that’s perfect for you and your family.
To do this there are many variables that need to be considered. As this post has shown large sites are best avoided.
Using smaller sites is the most effective way to find the property that’s right for you. You can also bag better deals on smaller sites.