Buying Property In Person vs. Online

Published Wednesday, September 21, 2022

I heard that the man, Rich Barton, who cofounded the real estate internet company Zillow was the same guy who founded the online travel company, Expedia. We all know what that, and other online reservation websites, have done to the travel agency business. That industry was severely hurt when consumers started to embrace the convenience of making airline and hotel reservations themselves online.

Some real estate agents were concerned that Zillow might have the same effect on the real estate brokerage business.  Online communications and information systems have impacted every business including real estate brokerage but there's a big difference between real estate brokerage and booking travel reservations. People typically buy real estate with all their senses.

There are lots of examples and many situations where people have bought a property using a website …or in other words, without actually visiting the property. Those circumstances however are few and far between and they can often end up with problems.  Recently a young family fell in love with a home they saw online only to find out that the major airport flight pattern was right over their new home. People generally don't like surprises. Especially when buying a home. Discovering a problem after the purchase is very disheartening.

People buy real estate with all 5 natural senses: eyesight, hearing, smell, touch, and taste. 

Taste, you say.  Yep.  I would always bring some Dixie cups along when showing homes.  If the buyers showed an interest, I’d encourage them to take a drink of water.  You don’t want to be surprised later if the water is not up to par.

Of course, location, location, location is key to any real estate purchase.  You can tell a lot from the pictures, and you can see all the amenities of the property, but you can't experience the location, location, location until you stand on the property and take a good look around.

And let’s not forget that 6th sense called intuition.  How do you feel when you walk in the front door?  How about the home’s traffic pattern or in other words, the floor plan.  You’ll never duplicate the experience of walking through the home on a smart device.

Zillow and the rest of the DYI real estate websites are important and valuable communication tools, but people still want advice from a professional and they still want to experience what they’re buying with all 6 senses.


If you are passionate about real estate, interested in investing in real estate, or just looking for a new career with growth potential, a real estate license could be the right move.  People can get started in real estate investing without a license and do ok. But those who want to take their investments to the next level, have control of their assets, build their network, and have direct access to the MLS need to get realtor training and get their real estate license. Does this sound like you? If so, give us a call at 630-844-0222 or check out our Real Estate Courses link on the main page to get started in real estate today and build your new career now!  We would love to help you get there.

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  • Meet the Author: Vince DePaul

    Vince DePaul Vince DePaul is Director of Your House Academy. Vince began his real estate career in 1976 and is a real estate broker and a licensed real estate and continuing education instructor. He has taught real estate at College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, and Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Illinois for several decades. For ten years he produced and hosted a weekly, live call-in radio broadcast in Chicago called “Your House” where he was known as “Mr. Real Estate.” In 2015, Vince received the prestigious Educator of the Year award from the Association of Illinois Real Estate Educators (AIREE). More about Vince »

A REALTOR® is a licensed real estate agent who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS®, (NAR) the largest trade group in the country.

Every agent is not a REALTOR®.  You become a REALTOR® after you pass your real estate course, pass the state license exam, join a real estate company and then join the National Association of REALTORS®.

According to the NAR, the term REALTOR has one, and only one, meaning:
"REALTOR® is a federally registered collective membership mark which identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics."

Michael Fair, President and Director of Your House Academy is an NAR member.