Cyber Monday: Buying Your Home On-line

What works best online, what works best in person

3440 Mistletoe Lane, Corey's Landing, Longboat Key, Florida, 34228
New Listing in Corey's Landing - This home on a protected canal in Sarasota Bay will be listed this week in the Multiple Listing Service. Click on the image above to see three years of Comparative Market Analysis reports for this community.

With millions of holiday orders on-line today for Cyber Monday, the question is, “Can you buy your home on-line?” The answer is, “Of course you can.” Nearly all the processes in buying or selling are available through the Internet, that it is conceivable you could complete the entire process without physically being there in person.

I will say that I have not had a complete sale entirely on-line, but some have come close. From the initial research to the closing process, virtual home sales may some day be the norm rather than the exception. We get closer each day with improvements in communication technology and online money transactions.

Start with neighborhood research, we provide a lot of information on our website. In the Buyer menu section we provide basic information but provide valuable government and organization links to further your research on the Sarasota area. There is more information under Area Resources. You can get a sense and feel for the different keys (islands) under the Communities menus. Compare island life to Sarasota with descriptions of each municipality. You can also find report cards on the school districts in these sections if you have school aged children. A good school district will also reveal the health of the area, and many of our schools are among the finest in the state.

Once you’ve completed your research on your island of choice or the mainland you can start looking at housing costs. It might go without saying that homes on the water will cost more, but we have provided valuable research tools so you know which home or condominium communities are higher priced. With higher priced properties you should expect more amenities and well-maintained residences. We have been collecting Comparable Market Analysis (CMA) reports on up to 18 different communities over 20 years, and this year have uploaded monthly reports back to 2008 in some areas. This summer we added our polygon research technology so that you can go directly to the community represented in the CMA and find current homes for sale.

For my listings you will see information on each property and take a virtual tour, or watch a video of the home. We provide aerial photos so that you can get a sense of the surroundings and its proximity to the Gulf of Mexico or Sarasota Bay. On the map my listings will appear in red, for those homes you can be assured we have provided a comprehensive look at the home.

7332 Westmoreland, Whitfield Estates, Sarasota, Bradenton, Florida
This Whitfield Estates home will go on sale this week.

Now that you have enough information to make an offer, this may be a good time to reach out to a local Realtor. Continuing with the virtual experience and reference, my 31 years of local waterfront luxury sales is documented under the menu Meet Roger. You can email me with the home you are interested in, but most of my buyers use a technology that is nearing 140-year-olds: the telephone. At this point buyers call me at (941) 387-1840 with questions that range from an initial inquiry, to very specific questions on a particular property or to arrange a home showing.

This is also the point at which most buyers break from the online process and want to see the home in person. I did have a buyer in Colorado request a specific video of a beachfront home I had listed and potentially willing to purchase the home, site unseen. Even the phrase, “site unseen,” has a different meaning in this virtual world we live in.

The offer, contract and any escrow amount deposits can be accomplished over great distances of separation. Online buyers can use the services of Coldwell Banker for secure document exchange and money transfers that account for exchange rates with international transactions. A different set of rules for communicating the closing documents might come in to play if the sale is a cash deal, or financing is arranged and a lending institution is involved. Our office will be able to help buyers through that process and have a lot of experience with overseas purchases.

I can’t say we have enough technology to be comfortable with a complete shopping experience for a home online purchase in 2014, but we are getting closer. Buyers are still willing to fly in to feel the freshness of a luxury home or hear the waves on the Gulf of Mexico beach. Cyber Monday will remain a retail day for holiday shopping at least for this year.

This week I will have new listings in Corey’s Landings and a couple beachfront condominiums that will be offered at good prices with great amenities. On the mainland I will list a home in Whitfield Estates and another in the Oaks. I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving, and wish you the best for the upcoming holidays.