Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind. Here are the top tips for house hunting online.
- Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter. We are looking at you Zillow. Zillow does not play well for most local MLS so the info can often be incorrect. Other sites such as Realtor.com or of course this one, are fed directly from the local MLS.
- Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
- See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.
- Be a team with your agent. Do not try to go around them or make deals on your own. This will not benefit anyone and often you will not get the best deal. They are looking at the MLS everyday with you in mind. Many times, your Realtor partner will be your boots on the ground. Especially if you are an out of town buyer or work during the day. The market is jumping so the sooner you can see the home the better.
Nearly 98% of home buyers begin their search online. As Realtors we realize that and have dealt with every kind of situation. Please do not be afraid to ask us any questions. We are here to help you every step of the way.