Poll: Buyers: During a home tour, how do you get information about the house?

Buyers: During a home tour, how do you get information about the house?

  • printed materials you brought (15%, 6 Votes)
  • printed materials from the listing agent (25%, 10 Votes)
  • real estate apps on a smartphone (38%, 15 Votes)
  • QR codes (0%, 0 Votes)
  • something else... (23%, 9 Votes)

Total Voters: 40

This poll was active 02.09.2014 through 02.15.2014

About The Tim

Tim Ellis is the founder of Seattle Bubble. His background in engineering and computer / internet technology, a fondness of data-based analysis of problems, and an addiction to spreadsheets all influence his perspective on the Seattle-area real estate market.


  1. 1
    doug says:

    I like to use trulia zillow or the windermere site. Trulia does the best job of showing the amount of foreclosures. For instance today there are 90 single family houses in shoreline for sale under 400,000.00. 49 OF THOSE ARE FORECLOSURES!!!!!! There is no way to see the massive number of shadow inventory banks are holding. But watching the stock market not being allowed to correct, the phony stories of how real estate is coming back just look at the inventory blah blah blah. You can be sure this is a phony recovery in real estate.

    At some point the dam is going to break and for anyone that has bought real estate in the last five years they are going to find out what being underwater is all about. I suspect that they will not just fall underwater they will lose at least half of the value of there phony inflated house.

  2. 2

    Tim, forgive me if you’ve already done a post on this: how do buyers select a real estate agent?

  3. 3
    Blurtman says:

    Concealed cameras and listening devices.

  4. 4

    By Blurtman @ 3:

    Concealed cameras and listening devices.

    Wouldn’t it be more economical to use drones?

  5. 5

    BTW, when I suggested the poll I was contemplating one choice being materials printed by the buyer’s agent, and thinking that would be the most common answer, followed by mobile device. I don’t see a lot of buyers grabbing materials printed by the listing agent, but perhaps that’s because I give our buyers the information beforehand.

  6. 6
    Matt the Engineer says:

    I usually have full info from the Redfin app / webpage before I go. Any info at the site is from conversations with whatever agent is there. If it’s an open house, it’s generally about how many pre-inspections* have happened, any info they can give me about the seller, etc.

    * Any chance you’ll do a post on the crazy pre-inspection phenomenon? In this market I’m really expected to shell out $400 for a house I likely won’t end up with? I’ve seen an average of 2-3 pre-inspections per house. There must be a way to stop this madness.

  7. 7

    RE: Matt the Engineer @ 6 – Ray says to avoid bidding wars entirely. I don’t have a problem with bidding wars, and have won several of them without being the highest bidder or having my client ever do a pre-inspection. A pre-inspection is typically rushed inspection, and that just isn’t a good idea.

  8. 8
    wreckingbull says:

    I download all past permits and inspection records from the county website. Or, note that there are no permits on the county website. Lets you cross reference improvement to permit (or lack of permit)

  9. 9
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Matt the Engineer @ 6

    The main reasons that Sellers try to avoid an Inspection Contingency are:

    1) Some buyers intend to decide whether or not they really want the house at all, during that inspection time frame, and do not honor the true purpose of that contingency.

    2) It is difficult for a seller to determine “best offer” with an unknown $ amount that may later arise in play.

    Even when a buyer waives the inspection “contingency” that does not mean they should not do an inspection for their own information. ALL buyers should do a Home Inspection.

    The only question is should the seller be left hanging in the wind for X days so that the buyer can cancel just because they decided they don’t want the house after all, or because there is a $15 GFCI missing.

    There is no reason you can’t modify the Inspection Contingency language to help tighten up the seller’s exposure. The main problem in The Seattle Area is that it is a totally one-sided “legal out” where the buyer does not have to provide a basis for cancelling “on inspection”.

    When I started in real estate the right to cancel was limited to “structural or major system issues or minor issues that in aggregate exceed $________ to remedy.” Some buyers would say $500 and some would say $10,000. This meaning that the buyer could only cancel if a $10,000 problem became known as a result of the Home Inspection, or the total of all issues were in excess of the amount chosen by the buyer and agreed upon by the seller in that blank.

    So the issue of pre-inspections has more to do with the inadequacy of the language in the Inspection Contingency, and the one-sided, buyer-favored vantage point of the document, than it does anything else.

    Some suggest that all buyers should have a “legal right” to an inspection, and I agree. But I don’t think anyone would agree that all buyers should have the legal right to cancel on a seller due to a $10 to $25 “problem” without even having to tell the seller why. That is how the form is presently worded and why sellers do not like giving the buyer the right to cancel over an unknown $10 issue as part of their acceptance in multiple offer situations.

    I don’t hold out any hope that the Statewide Documents will remedy this problem in the near future, but there is no reason you can’t modify the language in your offer.

    I personally have less problem, generally speaking, waiving home inspections on The Eastside than I do in Seattle. Also…and VERY important, one Home Inspector/Inspection in Seattle is insufficient in most cases as most properties require a sewer scope which is not part of a normal home inspection. Some homes on The Eastside need them as well…but not as many as in Seattle. So “a pre-inspection” by a Home Inspector is not sufficient in most cases without a 2nd company coming and doing a sewer scope. In fact in many cases the sewer scope reveals a much costlier problem than the Home Inspection in older homes in Seattle.

    There are other issues like can a buyer cancel because of a fence problem that could readily be seen at the time they viewed the home vs a problem with the house itself? Can they cancel based on a problem in the detached garage vs the house itself? These issues used to be MUCH clearer in Home Inspection clauses, and are now left intentionally vague.

    Tightening up the contingency for everyone is the answer. In fact during the last decade an alternative version of the contingency called “seller’s right to repair” was eliminated. That version gave the seller the right to have an electrician install a missing GFCI vs the buyer having the right to cancel because of a missing GFCI.

    The movement to this clause being used more commonly as a full on automatic right to cancel without needing a reason is the problem. No matter how many times a buyer claims that it is not their intention to cancel for no good reason, the language provides them with that legal out. Sellers are correct to be uncomfortable with that.

  10. 10

    RE: ARDELL @ 9 – I would generally agree with that, except maybe the sewer scope issue being less important anywhere! The NWMLS inspection terms are expressly subjective, and so her suggestions to avoid that are good. Another idea would be to make all or part of the earnest money non-refundable if the buyer backs out on inspection. The other buyers would likely still be around, so something like that might be attractive to a seller.

    I would note that IMHO the legal exposure of a seller is greater if a buyer waives the inspection in Form 35 as part of their offer and even greater if the buyer doesn’t attach Form 35 at all. The seller’s exposure is the least if there is an opportunity for an inspection, or if the buyer indicates that they did one and the seller knows that is true. So from a seller’s point of view a buyer waiving an inspection is not necessarily a good thing. I would note that most the REO and bankruptcy trustee forms automatically include a right of inspection.

  11. 11
    ARDELL says:

    RE: Kary L. Krismer @ 10

    Odds are given the choice of a sewer scope on a 3 year old house in Redmond…or not getting the house at all, a buyer would be better served getting the house.

    Odds are given the choice of a sewer scope on a 1915 house in Seattle (or pretty much anywhere) or not getting the house at all, will depend on whether the buyer has the willingness and funds to deal with worst case scenario in the event they choose to do the inspection without a contingency in place.

    In all cases if the buyer does an inspection without a contingency due to the need to do so to “win” in multiple offers, the buyer does not have to buy the house. They simply have to find a different legal out or fight over the Earnest Money, possibly via a “failure to disclose” rationale and/or on a Form 17 legal out.

    Having many legal outs running concurrently, like neighborhood review AND a Home Inspection contingency…sounds good on paper, but really is loading up on “feel goods” at the expense of getting the home at the best price even without multiple offers.

    Everyone will have a different strategy depending on the home and the client. But I am looking at the question in comment #6 from the standpoint of 20+ offers and 6 pre-inspections on an old home in Wallingford vs 2 to 5 offers on a newer home in Redmond. The strategy and recommendation would not be the same for both scenarios. Though yes…I agree from the agent’s CYA standpoint saying always do a sewer scope is the only answer that covers the agent no matter what, even for new construction. :)

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