Important Points to Consider When Looking for a Home on the Internet
1 Find a website (or two) that suits your needs.
Finding the correct website(s) to conduct your search is the first, and arguably most crucial, thing you’ll want to accomplish. There are many of real estate search websites to choose from, each with its unique search layout and capabilities. Finding a tool that you enjoy using will make the home search process less of a chore. You can also use our home search tool on our home page.
We suggest limiting your search to one or two websites, as most of them will contain the same postings. Learning to master the search tools on one or two websites is considerably easier than learning to master the search capabilities on ten websites, and it will prevent you from conducting the same search and receiving the same results over and over.
What Should You Look For When Choosing a Search Engine?
The option to create an account and store searches is one of the most significant features to look for. Furthermore, you should only choose websites that provide accurate, up-to-date results. You may need to sample a few before settling on one, but investing a little time up front will save you a lot of money in the long run. When you’re trying out different websites, here are some good things to ask yourself:
- Do you require larger images or virtual tours?
- Do you require consolidated public data, a large amount of listing information, and school reviews?
- Do advertisements and calls to action divert your attention away from your search?
- What is the average time it takes for search results to load? Is the search easy to use?
- Do the results fit on your screen or will you have to scroll?
- Do the search filters provide you with the information you require?
- Is it possible to see listings on a map? Is it simple to locate properties?
- Is it possible to search by school district? What about the zip code, the neighborhood, and so on?
As one of our clients, you will receive listings by email from our local MLS. We can also help you with listings that are FSBO if you choose.
You’ll be able to acquire accurate MLS results as well as view “unlisted” houses straight from homeowners using this method. There are a variety of “by owner” websites where you may discover FSBO listings, but many homeowners are now turning to sites like Zillow to sell their houses for free.
The Top 6 Most Popular Search Engines
2 Save Searches & Use Auto-Notifications
Hopefully, you’re utilizing a site that allows you to register and preserve your customized searches. This will allow you to perform the same search without having to redo all of the parameters in the future. This should also allow you to set up auto-notifications, which will send you emails on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis when new listings matching your criteria hit the market. Instead of constantly logging in to see whether any new matches are available, this will save you a lot of time.
For serious buyers, listing updates are critical.
Anyone interested in purchasing a home should set up automatic listing notifications. The faster you catch the top new listings, the greater your chances of jumping in early and getting the property in a market where the best properties are under contract in days. Even buyers who look on a regular basis may miss out on a home because some properties are sold within hours! If you’re not ready to buy right now, consider setting up weekly or monthly notifications instead. This will prevent your inbox from becoming overburdened with listing updates.
3 Take advantage of Google Maps’ Street View feature
Because many brokers utilize wide-angle cameras and only pick the finest photos, the way a home appears online might differ significantly from how it appears in person. If Street View is available, you may view what a home looks like up close and take a virtual drive about the neighborhood.
You have complete control over the 360-degree photos, including the ability to pan, zoom, and rearrange them. Use Bing Map’s Bird’s Eye View if Street View isn’t accessible. You may look around a property using 360-degree overhead views, which allow you to zoom in close enough to see information about the property and its surroundings. This is a terrific method to assess how big the yard is and how close the houses in the neighborhood are to one another..
4 Make Use Of Map Overlays And Search Options
A map search feature is a terrific method to visualize the location of potential properties and make narrowing down your search easier for you if you are a visual searcher. Assume you want to be a specific distance from a school, a park, or even your place of employment. To find matches within a radius of a spot on the map, use a radius search.
A polygon search is also available in many map search engines. This allows you to be more specific about the locations you want to target. Some map search tools also offer useful integrated overlays that provide surrounding schools, attractions, retail and dining options, and even real estate statistics for the chosen area.
5 Learn How To Use Search Filters Correctly
Only using a filter incorrectly is worse than not being able to use one at all. After all, the last thing you want to do is create a filter that eliminates residences that you might want. It’s simple to save a custom search with very specific criteria that eliminates a lot of good potential homes. Avoid filtering by specific features or amenities unless it’s a deal breaker or you’re getting much too many results.
Homes with fireplaces, attached garages, fenced yards, pools, formal dining rooms, and other features are examples of these types of searches. Many of these features can be added later.
Fields for square footage and lot size
When filtering listings, the square footage of the property and the lot size are two of the most crucial search criteria you should not utilize. While basic fields such as the number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and the year built are very straightforward and typically accurate, square footage is not.
Even if the sq/ft is provided, it is frequently inaccurate, depending on the measurement source.
6 Ignore Automated Home Value Estimates
Home value estimates, while fascinating to look at while browsing for listings, can cause more harm than good. Try not to dismiss a home that looks to be “overpriced” based on automatic value estimations, even if it’s difficult. These estimations might be drastically incorrect, affecting your picture of a home before you ever give it a chance.
By its own admission, Zillow’s house value estimations (Zestimates) might be 10% or more off the mark. So don’t dismiss homes with low value estimates or become too attached to properties that appear to be a good deal because their value estimate is higher than the list price. Once you’ve discovered the property you want, we will conduct a value analysis so you can make a credible offer based on the home’s true value.
7 For more information, look at local tax records
Look no further than your county’s property tax website if you’re having problems obtaining information about a residence. Property records are now available online in most counties, and because they are public documents, anybody can view them. Tax records can give you with information such as a home’s square footage, lot size, and sometimes even measurements of the structure, but they aren’t always 100% correct (home).
You can also look for mortgage information, sales and ownership changes, and current and historical tax assessments. Appraiser maps of the community that show lot lines and dimensions may also be available. You can also see if a property has any homestead exemptions and the current assessed valuation of the property.