I saw the Google camera car cruising Cookeville TN streets this morning, its camera completed shrouded in its rain cover. An imp in my brain said “so that’s why Cookeville Google street views are often wrong”.

Google, Bing, Trulia, Zillow, tax records, MLS reports – none are 100 percent correct. Most score considerably lower. I’m focusing on real estate today, but this discussion could extend to almost any research topic.

Global sites, like Google and Bing, cover a lot of ground, so updates in smaller towns and rural areas are fewer and farther between. Some go years between updates. Entire subdivisions are invisible in some rural areas. Imagine the surprise of a tourist expecting Sleepy Hollow and finding Prime Shopping Mall City! It happens.

Local sites, like tax records, depend on overworked staffs for accurate initial entries and updates. Inaccurate information can come from a long list of sources: Address and owner names include typos, addresses issued from 911 addresses instead of USPS addresses, finished building is smaller or larger than original permit specs, owner additions not recorded, acreage is sold or added. You get the picture.

I am not telling you to delete your browser! Websites are great for early research. Use global sites plus for local tourism, state info, local government, and chambers of commerce  for better overviews. If you are planning a real estate purchase, ask a REALTOR for local facts. Find a good local mortgage lender.  For building and land sizes, appraisers and surveyors are the experts who determine and provide this information.

Internet information can narrow your search to a few final contenders. When your list is ready, make some calls, then get in your car and visit the locations on your list. In real estate, just like the rest of life, the journey is as important as the destination.

Cookeville TN REALTOR® Brenna Piper, ABR, has worked with American Way Real Estate since 2002. A former television news photographer and corporate marketing director, she provides accomplished marketing and negotiating services to sellers and buyers across ten countries  of Tennessee’s scenic  Upper Cumberland area. Contact her at www.BrennaPiper.com for information on homes, land, and Cookeville TN area information.