The Home Search in the Digital Age

By Michael Williams                                                                                                                                                                  3/1/2021

I read with great interest this NY Times article in the February 26th, 2021 paper about the low inventory of existing homes for sale and why few new homes are being built.  I agree there is no “one thing” responsible unless you choose to assign all the responsibility to the pandemic.  Doing so, however, though easy, would be simplifying a much more complicated set of factors.

I also agree that hesitancy to move to a new home is contributing to the shortage of homes for sale.  When you can work from home in your old job or even work in a new job that may be situated several states away, where’s the urgency to travel to look at new homes?  In fact, an article just last week – also in the NY Times – discussed how Internet-savvy buyers are asking brokers for help in their home searches through online home tours and research.  From the February 19th article:

The increased pressure on the market has been coupled with widespread adoption of tech tools that allow buyers to not just browse real estate but also apply for loans, finalize deals and even have documents notarized, all while social distancing from their sofas. Sixty-three percent of buyers who used Redfin in November and December went on to make an offer on a home they hadn’t seen in person, and monthly views of 3-D walk-throughs on the site are up more than 500 percent since February 2020.

This is where brokers need to step in and ensure they are ready and able to assist buyers on their terms. Brokers also cannot remain wedded to “old ways” of doing business.  Already, the open house has become an anachronism.  Drone photos of a neighborhood are well worth efforts to improve online presentation.  Poor quality photos with bad lighting or low resolution are an immediate turnoff.  Buyers are combing Zillow and before they call, and why shouldn’t they?  

Our philosophy at Lake and Village Realty LLC is to ensure we add value for both buyers and sellers.  This means, in some sense, going back to basics:  

  • Ensure we negotiate on behalf of buyers and sellers to obtain the best possible terms for our clients (This remains a weak spot for many agents.)
  • Help sellers establish asking prices that fit into the current market
  • Provide advice about how to present a home for sale – particularly how to provide the best online presentation
  • Work with clients who easily navigate online resources while also being ready to help those who have neither time nor inclination to do so
  • Market a home where it will have the widest exposure to prospective buyers and using those resources to find homes for prospective buyers

With these essentials in mind, the Lake and Village Realty team is ready to assist prospective and current clients in navigating online real estate sales.


Badger, Emily and Quoctrung Bui. “Where Have All the Houses Gone?” The New York Times, Accessed 27 Feb. 2021.

Kamin, Debra. “In the Pandemic, Online Home-Buying Picks Up Speed.” The New York Times, Accessed 27 Feb. 2021. 

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