Homes in Central Illinois
Jerry George
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There’s more than meets the eye when viewing homes online

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Searching for homes online is a great first step, but it is often hard to see the big picture.

A picture speaks a thousand words, but it often doesn’t tell the whole story. The image within the frame is specific to what the photographer wants seen, which basically means the photograph is captured through a subjective lens. The image usually highlights the beauty and avoids the ugly of the subject matter.

For example, you have a friend who wants to capture the serene image of a pond on her property and share it on social media. The water is glassy smooth as it reflects the soft blue sky within its banks. The picture radiates the perfect setting for a peaceful outing. But take a step beyond the frame, and what is revealed? Off to one side of the photo is a highway filled with traffic and its related noise. Out of view behind the camera is a cell phone tower looming over the skyline. In the distance to the right of the frame is a processing plant with all of its related odors.

The sights, sounds and, yes, even the smells of the surroundings of the pond that help tell the whole story have not been revealed in the photo. Suddenly, that serene image of a pond doesn’t seem so peaceful.

The opposite holds true as well. Let’s say an acquaintance also wants to highlight the fact he has a pond on his property, but the water is murky and the banks are covered with weeds. Still, he focuses on the pond for the photograph but overlooks surroundings that are appealing. Instead of a highway to the left, there is green pasture with a stable of horses. Behind the photographer are rolling hills and to the right of frame is a lush 18-hole golf course. The focal point of the image does not paint a pretty picture overall, which ultimately leads to a negative impression of the entire area.

Both scenarios are similar to clicking on a website to view a photo gallery of a listed home. The photos make up only a part of the home’s story. They do not give a complete picture that takes in the neighborhood, the surrounding traffic and the important little details that make a house a home.

Don’t mistake the message here. Going online to view photos of a home is a solid step in the vetting process, but it needs to be done in the proper perspective. Rarely, if ever, does someone buy a home without taking a physical tour, but it is easy to become emotionally drawn into a selection of photos that captures the beauty and avoids the ugly. And therein lies the danger. Once a buyer’s emotions take charge, it is difficult to see the big picture and view a home objectively when taking a walk-through because subconsciously a decision already has been made before the onsite visit even takes place.

Andrew Fortune, a Realtor in Colorado Springs, Colorado, notes that buyers’ emotions take root when they have been looking at properties online for a few months. “This is very common for first-time homebuyers,” Fortune says. “I’m constantly reminded that the perfect home for sale online rarely becomes the perfect house in person.”

Conversely, a home should not be ruled out on first glance because of the images posted online do not immediately resonate with you. If it has the location, dimensions and other desired amenities you seek in a home, an onsite visit should be scheduled.

Whether you are a first-time buyer or experienced homeowner, give me a call at 217-638-1360 or email me at jgeorge@thegroup.com as you begin the search for a place to call home. I can help give you a more complete view of the home with a personal walk-through. With no pressure and no commitment to buy, you then can make a wise decision once you have seen the bigger picture.

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