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Reading The Fine Print... If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is...

Monday, April 9th, 2018 at 2:23pm Engel & Völkers New Orleans

This old adage rings true for so many things - the online “flash” sale, getting a “steal” on a new car.  There is fine print everywhere that we overlook or misunderstand and, sadly, this holds true in Real Estate.  The two most often misunderstood items we see are online “estimates” or “estimated property values” provided by a third-party website or when clients answer the 4-page property disclosures form with “no” without understanding the potential ramifications. 

Our Real Estate Advisors have the most accurate, local data and will guide you in understanding where the fine print is and what it means!


With the sharp increase in the number of websites and apps consumers use to find homes and Realtors, there has been a sharp increase in the amount of misinformation as well.   We strongly recommend that when a consumer begins searching for a home they identify and retain a designated buyer's agent that is skilled in working with similar clients (first-time homebuyer specialists, Accredited Buyer's Representatives), an agent that knows and can communicate all applicable local, state and federal guidelines when appropriate, and an agent who knows the market or neighborhoods they are looking to purchase a home in.    Similarly, we highly recommend potential sellers identify and retain a dedicated listing agent who works tirelessly on their behalf to get your home listed, under contract and sold as smoothly as possible.    A listing agent who can identify the type of potential buyer, market your home to them, and knows your market and comparable properties are the foundation for a successful sale.    

That said, we have likely all used apps or websites other than (the most accurate and most often updated website available nationally) or (hopefully) our own Engel & Völkers New Orleans website.    Maybe you like the way the app works, or how the website looks.    The reasons are as numerous as the number of apps and sites available.   Our listings are distributed to over 120+ websites and apps across the globe.  

Our cautionary tale, however, is that when you (as a buyer or seller) use information from a third-party site that proffers an "estimated" value of a home, you should literally take that with a grain of salt.    Particularly in dense urban markets like New Orleans, those "estimates" can be wildly inaccurate.    For example, along the St. Charles Avenue corridor, there are many beautiful historic large homes with values exceeding $1 and $2 Million or more.   However, there are an unknown number of homes in need of significant renovation, the sporadic small home, several condo towers, and within steps from St. Charles, there are homes in every possible price point and condition.     The diverse nature of homes in almost every neighborhood in New Orleans basically eliminates the potential for a website or app to provide a reasonable estimate of value for your home - there are ultimately too many factors.     

The Real Estate Advisors at Engel & Völkers New Orleans can not only guide you through the buying and selling process with ease but are market leaders and experts in their neighborhoods - monitoring trends, inventory, current inventory and recent sales and can provide the best analysis of your homes value.... And, in some cases, will take the additional step of engaging the services of an appraiser when it is needed to ensure the listing price is on-target and will result in a sale as quickly as possible.   

Our Advisors are also well educated in the required forms associated with the sale of a home.  One of the most misunderstood forms is the Property Disclosure form.  This form, completed by sellers, contains many questions about the systems and equipment in a home and is designed to disclose any known issues such as a roof leak from last August's rain storms that was repaired by a local professional.    The answers can be Yes, No, or Not Known.  Often sellers will run through a disclosure marking NO without reading the questions.  By marking NO on the question "Have there been any issues with the roof?", the seller is stating there has NEVER been an issue with the roof.     The appropriate answer would be YES and they have room to explain how the problem was solved.    By stating "NO" the owner is representing that there is NO issue related to that question.    Often, NOT KNOWN is more appropriate.  For example, if an owner is unaware of any issues with the Air Conditioning system, then marking NOT KNOWN is correct.  However, if they mark NO and it is easily determined that there are rust stains on the vents from condensation (a key marker of potential issues), then they are answering this question incorrectly and falsely.   

Work with a professional and allow us to read the fine print, and professionally guide you to the sale or purchase of your next home!

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