Top 5 Mistakes Made When Using The Internet While Buying A Home

Kyle Hiscock
Published on February 7, 2017

Top 5 Mistakes Made When Using The Internet While Buying A Home

What Are The Most Common Mistakes Made By Home Buyers Using The Internet?

Top 5 Mistakes Made When Using The Internet While Buying A Home

Top 5 Mistakes Made When Using The Internet While Buying A Home

One of the best tools to use when buying a home is the internet.  There is an abundance of information available on the internet relating to real estate.

The internet allows home buyers to get information ranging from the steps to buying a house to shopping for homes for sale in their local market.  It’s extremely important to note the fact that some of the information that’s available online for home buyers is far from accurate or helpful.

If you’re currently in the market to buy a home or you’re at least thinking about it, make sure that you’re aware of the 5 mistakes commonly made when using the internet while buying a home discussed in this article.  Avoiding these mistakes greatly improves your chances of a successful and pleasant home buying experience.

Hiring An Agent Solely Because They’ve Contacted You Through An Internet Inquiry

One of the most important steps in successfully buying a home is hiring a top buyers agent.  Buyers who know how to interview real estate agents when buying a home give themselves a huge advantage over their competition.

The reality is that many home buyers decide that interviewing real estate agents when buying a home is not necessary.  There are many reasons why hiring a buyers agent when buying a home is recommended and not properly interviewing agents can be a huge mistake.

It’s common that buyers will use an agent solely because they’ve contacted them after they made an internet inquiry.  This is simply put, one of the biggest mistakes made when using the internet while buying a home.

One thing that most buyers don’t understand when it comes to agents reaching out through internet inquiries is that it’s highly likely the agent has paid for their information.  Just because an agent contacts a buyer after they’ve inquired through a real estate website such as Zillow or Trulia doesn’t mean they’re necessarily the right agent for that specific buyer.

Real estate websites, such as Zillow and Trulia, allow any agent to receive buyer leads regardless of their experience or the quality of service they provide.  These websites charge agents to receive buyer leads and most of them could care less if the agent is one of the best in their market or if they’ve never sold a home in their career.

It’s critical that while using the internet during the home buying process, buyers don’t hire an agent solely because they’ve reached out because of an inquiry they made.  It’s certainly acceptable to get information from an agent who responds to an online inquiry but this doesn’t mean a buyer should rush into hiring this specific agent.

Believing Internet Home Value Estimates

One of the most important decisions that home buyers make during the buying process is determining how much to offer for a home.  There are dozens of real estate websites that provide home value estimates, and these websites are providing exactly that, an estimate.

Another mistake made when using the internet while buying a home is believing that online home value estimates are always accurate.  If I were to tell you that Zillow’s home value estimates are inaccurate, 25% (or more) of the time, would you still view this as a tool you should rely on during your home purchase?  I certainly hope your answer is a resounding NO.

Believing Internet Home Value Estimates Is A Mistake Often Made By Home Buyers!

Believing Internet Home Value Estimates Is A Mistake Often Made By Home Buyers!

There are certain strategies or statistics that buyers should seek out when trying to find out the market value of a house.  Buyers need to rely on their buyers agent to help them with home valuation estimates, not the internet.

A buyers agent can complete a comparative market analysis, frequently referred to as a CMA, for a property.  A comparative market analysis is a method that a buyers agent uses to help determine a homes value by comparing recent comparable sales to a specific property.

Shopping For Homes On Inaccurate Internet Websites

There is no doubt that the internet is an awesome place to shop for homes that are currently for sale.  There are hundreds of websites on the internet that buyers can look at homes.  It’s extremely important for buyers to keep in mind when using the internet to look at homes for sale, that not all websites and resources are created equal.

One of the most frustrating things for home buyers is to find a home on the internet only to find out that it’s not for sale.  Another mistake made when using the internet while buying a home is shopping on inaccurate websites.

As an active real estate agent in Irondequoit NY, buyers frequently ask about specific properties they found on the internet.  It’s never fun being the bearer of bad news when I have to explain to a buyer who found a property they absolutely love on the internet that it hasn’t been for sale for 6 months.

Yes, you read that correctly, a property was listed as ‘for sale’ on an internet website and it was sold and closed 6 months prior.  This unfortunately is a frequent occurrence.  It’s important when using the internet to shop for homes that buyers are using the most accurate websites.

Top buyers agents understand the importance of explaining to buyers what internet websites they should be using to shop for homes.  Many top agents will have their own websites that are equipped with an accurate home search feature.

I always recommend to any potential buyers who’re shopping for homes for sale in Rochester to utilize my website.  The information on a top real estate website is going to be updated frequently, likely every hour or even less!

Using Internet Mortgage Calculators

A frequently asked question about mortgages relates to how a monthly payment is determined.  It’s vital for a buyer to understand how much they’ll be required to pay monthly for a home.

Many buyers will use internet mortgage calculators to calculate how much their monthly payments would be for specific price ranges.  This is often a big time mistake made when using the internet while buying a home.

Be Cautious When Using Online Mortgage Calculators

Be Cautious When Using Online Mortgage Calculators

Why?  For starters, many internet mortgage calculators don’t incorporate all the monthly expenses that are involved with a monthly payment.  Many of these calculators only factor in the monthly principle and interest, which can lead a buyer to believe they can afford much more than they truly can.

Recently, while working with a buyer who was viewing homes listed for around $125,000 and real estate taxes of $5,000 per year, they mentioned they wanted their monthly payment to stay below $700.  I explained that the homes we were viewing were going to have monthly payments upwards of $1,300.  The buyer explained that when they used a mortgage calculator online, it said their payment would only be around $700 per month.

This particular mortgage calculator was not taking into account the real estate taxes or insurance portion of the monthly payment.  The buyer was extremely disappointed to find out they weren’t going to be able to purchase a home for much more than $60,000 if they wanted to keep their payment around $700 per month.

An excellent tip for preparing to get a mortgage is to sit down with a LOCAL lender to discuss monthly payments and costs that’ll be required to close on a home well before shopping for homes.  A top mortgage lender would prefer to discuss monthly payments with a buyer rather than them going to the internet to use mortgage calculators.  It can help prevent surprises and disappointment.

Acquiring A Mortgage Through An Internet Based Lender

Get a mortgage approval in less than 5 minutes!  Sounds great doesn’t it?  Internet based mortgage lenders have led to more and more real estate deals falling apart each and every year over the past several years.

Another huge blunder made when using the internet while buying a home is relying on an internet based mortgage lender to obtain home financing.  Not using a LOCAL mortgage lender is one of the biggest mortgage mistakes made by home buyers.

There are hundreds of internet based mortgage lenders and many of them have some pretty catchy and attractive marketing schemes.  Who wouldn’t love to get a mortgage approval in less than 5 minutes or pay no closing costs?

It’s impossible for an accurate mortgage pre-approval be issued within 5 minutes based on solely the information provided by a buyer.  To say information provided by every potential buyer on an online mortgage application is 100% accurate would be a silly statement.

The primary reason why many buyers turn to an internet based mortgage lender is because they don’t understand how to get approved for a mortgage.  While it’s simple to input information into an online application, it doesn’t mean the end result of buying a home will be successful.

Buying a home does take work and patience, and getting a mortgage pre-approval from a LOCAL lender is just one of the steps in the process and an important one at that.

Final Thoughts

The internet is a fantastic tool to utilize while buying a home.  The internet provides home buyers with way more positive information and tools than negative, however, it’s extremely important to keep in mind the 5 mistakes often made online by home buyers.

Making any of the above 5 mistakes when using the internet while buying a home can make the experience stressful or even worse, unsuccessful.  Home buyers who’re aware of these 5 mistakes will enjoy the process of buying a home and ultimately will achieve the dream of home ownership.

Other Home Buying Resources


If you’re thinking about buying a home in Rochester, you need to avoid the 5 internet mistakes discussed in this article.  There are some excellent real estate websites and resources that can help make the purchase of a home in Rochester easy.  If you’re wondering what real estate websites you should use for buying a home are, contact me, and I’d be happy to provide you with the very best!

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About the authors: The above article “Top 5 Mistakes Made When Using The Internet While Buying A Home” was written by Kyle Hiscock of the Hiscock Sold Team at RE/MAX Realty Group.  With over 30 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

© 2017, Kyle Hiscock. All rights reserved.

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