Browsing Massachusetts Real Estate Listings: Online vs. In Person?

I am often contacted by home buyers in the South Shore who have found their dream home online and want to book a showing to see it immediately. They haven't communicated with a real estate professional yet, and they haven't looked at a home in person for many years, but somehow they know that the home they just found online is the right one. Usually, they have been looking online for a few months and the excitement has been building. This is very common, especially for first time home buyers. After personally showing homes for so many years, I’m constantly reminded that the perfect home for sale online rarely becomes the perfect house in person.

There are some things to consider when you're in the process of browsing through Massachusetts real estate listings online... First of all, when someone hires a real estate professional to list their house for sale, the #1 one job of that agent is to get the most amount of showing activity possible. That is why they are referred to as the “listing” agent. Their #1 priority is to list the property to the best of their ability with all the tools available. Listing agents use photo and video tricks to showcase the property's highest and best qualities. For this reason, real estate tends to look better online, than in person. You’ll find out the real details upon visiting the property.

Here are a few issues that are nearly impossible to identify in an real estate listing online:

  1. Don't trust photographs for an accurate representation of room sizes Through the use of a wide angle lens and a good photo editing software, a good photographer will know how to make a space look larger than reality. With this in mind, photos online usually make a space look much more spacious than it actually is. Playing with furniture layouts can also give the allusion of taller ceilings and more floor space.
  2. A house is not always as clean as it looks in photos online. Experienced sellers have been preparing their home for months in advance with repairs, rearranging furniture, painting etc. However, when it comes to the actual photos, they will do a deep clean in all the main areas, but not necessarily throughout the whole house. When you visit the home, you may find that the closets, secondary bedrooms, bathrooms, and/or garage spaces are not very clean. Dusty blinds, baseboards, and decor can reveal a home that is not cleaned as often as the online pictures may appear. This can be a major turnoff for many homebuyers.
  3. What's that smell? Sometimes you'll find a home online and it's perfect on paper, but as soon as you show up to the house in person and the front door opens, your nose is inundated with the smell of a thousand city zoos. This is a classic scenario that every Realtor deals with, and honestly, it’s probably one of the hardest issues to overcome when I’m showing homes. When I’m in a home with strong pet odors, it’s almost impossible to focus on anything other than “lets get back outside”. It takes a very clean home owner to remove the smell out of the home on a daily basis, and I have found that many pet owners are not able to do this well and they will unsuccessfully try to fix the problem with candles and carpet deodorizers minutes before a showing.


If you're in the in the market to buy a home in the Boston area, you may want to check out one of these links

Browse Listings

You could also contact us at Lighthouse Realty Group and tap into our expertise on the real estate market south of Boston. We've been helping people buy and sell in the area for over 20 years. 

Why You Should Hire a Massachusetts Home Inspector BEFORE Listing

Once you have an executed a sales contract with a buyer, the first thing the buyer is going to do is hire a home inspector to inspect your house. But why not beat them to it? A Massachusetts home inspector will usually charge a few hundred dollars for their services. That’s pennies in the grand scheme of things. 

Inspections are the #1 deal killer in this industry. Tackle all of the repairs you'll need to make upfront and before you even put your home on the market and you will not be surprised by the buyers who supply you with a list of problems that need to be fixed in order to push the deal forward.

Sure, dealing with the issue of hiring a home inspector may cost you some money out of pocket, but it's money that you will probably be spending anyway. Buyers will second guess a house if the inspection report is loaded with issues, but in my experience, when buyers learn that there has already been an inspection and of the necessary repairs have been made, they are more willing to pay top dollar for the listing.

I just had a deal where the homeowner had not been to the property in a couple of years and had been renting it out. He put it on the market and my buyers wanted it. We did a septic, radon, well, and full home inspection. All 4 of the inspections failed miserably. The seller was livid when he received our list of repairs, but it was his fault. He was hoping for the best possible scenario and set himself up for disaster. If he would have just inspected these items before listing, it would have never been a problem. He was lucky my buyer still wanted the property at all, after all the issues we had to address. Performing an inspection before listing is well worth the expense. 

Looking to put your home on the market?

Selling your house or condo can be overwhelming, especially if it's your first time. If you're in the process of discerning the sale of your property, reach out to Lighthouse Realty Group and our team of South Shore real estate experts for help!