Home Buying Manual in the Digital Age of Real Estate

Home Buying Manual in the Digital Age of Real Estate

Real estate is one of the most common types of investment, going back hundreds of years, but how homes are bought and sold today would be unrecognizable to the real estate pros of the previous century. The internet has revolutionized real estate, introducing a variety of technological tools that have made home sales faster, easier, more convenient, and more competitive. Keeping up with the current market requires familiarity with these tools, so you’ll want to pay attention to them if you want to buy a home in the digital age.

Online listings

The Modern Listing Service (MLS) is a web-based tool real estate professionals use to list homes, share listings, and see information about homes for sale. The MLS ensures that listings are standardized and easy to share among realtors, making it easy for a buyer in California to see a broad array of Farmington real estate listings without leaving their homes. Your realtor will show you MLS listings based on your personal preferences as a buyer.

How to look at online listings

One of the best things about online listings is that the most important home information is easily accessible. Everything is in one place. You can scroll through high-resolution photos of a home, inside and out, with some listings even including video. In the listing, you’ll find the square footage, lot size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, information about the seller’s agent, and other logistical details.

A major caveat to the convenience of online real estate listings is that, while they can be highly informative, they don’t always provide a realistic view of a home. Many modern listings feature images that have been altered or enhanced in a variety of ways. Home sellers and realtors may use tools such as digital staging, in which pictures of an empty home are digitally altered to make the home appear fully furnished. Arguably, this is no different from traditional staging because you, as the buyer, understand that you are getting the home, not the furniture (unless furnishings happen to be included with a particular listing). However, you should not underestimate the effect these digital changes can have.

Home listings may be digitally enhanced in a variety of ways. Photos may be brightened or cleaned up a bit. Editors may use effects such as virtual twilight to increase the ambiance of a home. While all of this is perfectly explainable and understandable from a real estate sales perspective, the bottom line is that it is up to the home buyer to do due diligence by examining the home in person.

Home inspections

Home inspections are nothing new in real estate. The internet can only do so much to spruce up the appearance of a home. An inspector will thoroughly investigate the house, looking for major issues, like foundation, roofing, electrical, plumbing, or heating and air problems. This will protect you from unexpected expenses and liabilities that can come with waiving a home inspection.

Finding a realtor

There are several ways to find a great local realtor. Consider looking on the internet for reputable real estate groups and teams with positive client testimonials and a high sales record. It’s worth mentioning that most modern realtors have a website where you can see some basic information about them and their real estate practice. A typical realtor website will include contact details, a small biography, a portfolio of current listings, and more. While browsing, ensure that the realtor specializes in buying and selling properties in the area you’re interested in.

If you’re still having trouble, look for a real estate professional who is also a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) member. At a time when entering the real estate market is easier than ever, it is essential to have strict professional and ethical standards for realtors. That’s where the NAR comes in. Members of the NAR pledge to adhere to a standard Code of Ethics. They’ll have access to additional training, research data, and other resources that give them an edge.

NAR members are easily recognizable online through the group’s REALTOR® wordmark, which you will likely notice on the website of any NAR-affiliated agent.

Virtual tours and virtual showings

These days, many real estate listings boast virtual tours and showings. Visiting a home virtually will help you better understand the home’s layout and room space or if you’d even want to visit the property in person.

These resources can help identify a home you might want to check out more closely, but they’re not substitutes for in-person tours or showings. As with listing photos, virtual tours and showings are not 100% true to life. However, taking a virtual tour of a home is a great way to ensure you’re interested before scheduling the in-person visit.


When you have made an offer on a home, and it’s been accepted, an escrow service may be used in order to facilitate the smooth transfer of funds, such as earnest money. This will be done digitally.

How realtors market using the internet

Realtors use a variety of online tools to market and advertise homes. This includes social media promotions, advertisements on third-party websites, email newsletters, and more. If you see a home listing that interests you, talk to your realtor about contacting the seller’s agent so you can take a closer look.

The next step

If you’re ready to jump into the real estate market in the digital age, connect with a local realtor today. The Marshall & Ostop Team is a Connecticut real estate firm specializing in high-end and luxury properties, with a portfolio of top-tier West Hartford, Bloomfield, and Farmington real estate. If you have more questions, check out the firm’s buyer’s guide for additional insights into home buying in the digital age. Contact Paula Fahy Ostop, Ellyn Marshall, and the Marshall & Ostop Team today to work with an experienced, tech-savvy, and highly skilled realtor and begin the journey to finding your dream home.

Work With Us

We have the experience and dedication to make home buying and selling fun and financially rewarding. We provide all the resources necessary to ensure transactions are smooth from start to finish. With unparalleled market knowledge and customer service our team is one of the most recommended groups in the industry.

Follow Us on Instagram