A Home Inspector’s Weblog by Frank Schulte-Ladbeck

exploring homes and the lives in them around Houston

On the Search for Information

I like to place myself in the mindset of a prospective home buyer to see what information on the web can help me. I do not think that many people looking for a home would consider blogs as a place to look, but I have actually connected to some excellent articles here. There are many sites that are attempting to become the main gathering place for home buyers and sellers in either a local market or nationally. One such local site is HoustonTexasRealEstate.com, where I have started to write some posts for the community blog. I actually like the way the site is set up, and I can see how this site can become useful to buyers and sellers. An article in another blog about advertising led me back to Zillow.com.

I first looked at this site in conjunction with the idea of individuals trying to find ways to sell their home, and it was alright, but I was not really wowed. I came back to the site to explore other aspects of what they have to offer. The blog was well written by various individuals, and I thought it offered sound advice. Then I came to the message boards, where someone will leave a question or comment to be answered or discussed by others. Some of the posts were insightful, others were wrong, some were whining, and others left me wondering. I could become addicted to this section. The fascinating part was that there was an area for real estate professionals (ie Realtors), which anyone could access. Reading some of the items written there would make me wonder about how much confidence I should have in a Realtor. Some of the advice about what to do when finding a problem with your home was laughable. However, there was a great amount of good information there as well.

Zillow may be the site for you if you are trying to get a better understanding about buying or selling a home. I particularly liked the fact that Zillow did not appear to be editing out negative comments about their own site. There was a report on NPR this morning about a book that had been written by 5000 people on the internet about management and how they should listen to the crowd. The premise is that the crowd will eventually get it right, and that would give the company the proper direction to go. I felt that Zillow was doing this. It will be interesting to watch how this site develops. For that matter it would be interesting to see how the site Trulia will develop. I use to work with a man who would tell his managers that information is the key. Well the internet does provide the information in droves. But is it providing the information that we want or that we need? And is the information correct? I tell my clients to go to as many sources as possible, eventually the truth or that nugget that you need comes out.


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