Everyone still calls active would-be St. Cloud home buyers “house hunters.” The term hasn’t changed; the goal hasn’t, either—but today the activity it conjures up is very different from that it did just a short while ago.
For instance, for St. Cloud house hunters whose last hunt was in, say,1990, their memory of “house hunting” is probably that of thumbing through stacks of black-and-white listing sheets provided by the real estate agent. Those may have been a little hard to read, especially if they’d been sent to their oh-so-slow home fax machine. If any of the sheets looked worth pursuing, the next step might have “beeping” the agent’s pager—whereupon the agent would have then contacted the seller’s agent (usually through their answering machine) to set up a showing. House hunting just a couple of decades ago was loaded with those new-fangled electronics—most of which can now be found only in boxes in the attic.
Today, when you say “St. Cloud house hunting” it evokes a quite different set of activities. Technology has caused such an explosion in how accessible information is that the home buying process is virtually unrecognizable. As media commentator Dave Ramsey recalls, “Even up to 2005, a buyer would look through real estate publications and try to connect with an agent that specialized in a specific neighborhood…who would select 10-20 homes for that buyer to view.”
Today’s St. Cloud house hunters would have a hard time relating. At home in their easy chair, they zip through screen after screen of professional color images of properties that meet qualifications they have set—then just send a list to their agent to schedule showings. The information is so readily at hand, today’s St. Cloud house hunters are more like zoo visitors than safari trekkers.
Although today’s newly evolved house hunting may sound as if it has all but eliminated the need to recruit a real estate agent, it’s actually true only for the first steps in the process. Ramsey is clear about that: “Even if you think you’ve found your dream home in an online search, your agent will help you nail down all the facts about that home and the neighborhood you’ll live in.” Locating suitable properties has gotten much more efficient, but as for all the rest of the home-buying process, he points out, “things are more complicated these days.”
True enough—and why I hope you’ll call me. My in-depth knowledge of our St. Cloud market means you will hear about all the factors you won’t find online—which could wind up introducing you to a home you might not consider from just browsing online pictures!
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