Best Online Resources for House Hunting
We’re going to be real with you: the best way to find a house isn’t by searching online; it’s by working with an agent! It may seem like a DIY moment, but realtors know about all kinds of properties that aren’t on the market yet and they have experience spotting red flags and negotiating for best prices. Plus your realtor pulls info from MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which is the hub that all these other sites get their info from.
BUT we also know you’re probably going to look online no matter what. So while we recommend that you work with a fabulous buyer’s agent (like us!) here are some websites you can use to get a feel for what you’re interested in and what price range makes sense for you.
This is a great option for learning about the real estate market because it doesn’t just have listings; it also has a lot of practical information about mortgage rates, percentages of owner occupied homes in an area, and HOAs. For first time buyers especially this is a good place to go to familiarize yourself with all the ins and outs of the process. You can compare neighborhoods to see which area might be best for you and have some ideas to bring to the table when you meet with your realtor.
On Trulia you can see which homes in a specific area are for sale, when open houses are going to be held, and what’s new to the market. A great feature of this website is that you can also see what’s recently been sold. Sure, that means you can’t buy that home, but it gives you a great sense of the price ranges of each neighborhood. Sometimes a competitive location can drive up prices; with this tool you can keep a tab on this ebb and flow and choose a location accordingly.
Zillow is one of the most well-known resources and it has a lot of practical breakdowns on homes for sale. For example you can view foreclosures, new constructions, for sale by owner homes, etc. If you have something very specific in mind, like new construction only or a fixer upper, this can help narrow down your search by a factor other than price or location.
Viewing properties online can be a great way to get a sense of what you want in a home and can help you feel in control during a whirlwind process. We recommend you take those findings and bring them to a real estate agent who can help you weed out the good from the too-good-to-be true, to the downright bad!
It breaks down to this: we have your back, online real estate markets don’t. Interested in hearing more about why an agent is important in this world of DIY everything? Shoot us an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’d be happy to share our expertise with you.