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How To Find a Home Online

Home Search

Buying a home is one of the biggest financial undertakings you’ll likely experience, making it important to pull valuable information from multiple reliable sources.

Some of the best online realty sites and apps can do the house hunting for you, narrowing down the list of results based on your budget and other requirements. You can then scroll through those listings and view different homes all from the comfort of your couch. 

The process typically entails face-to-face meetings with your real estate agent and mortgage lender, but a realty website can make the initial property search much faster and easier.

Online Real Estate Websites

When searching for a home, it’s essential to utilize all available resources and tools. That’ll be much more efficient than aimlessly driving through neighborhoods looking for for-sale signs. 

Here are some quality online platforms that can help to streamline the process.  

 1. Zillow

Zillow is definitely one of the bigger, more popular sites, and for a good reason. It’s easy to use and provides a plethora of information on millions upon millions of properties.  

 Pros

The search function is beneficial. You can edit your results based on the price, several bedrooms and bathrooms, home-type, neighborhood, lot size, etc. This will narrow options, helping you find a house that meets both your must-haves and nice-to-haves.  

Cons

Zillow offers “Zestimate’s”, which uses a proprietary algorithm to determine a property’s value based on public data. The generated price tends to over or underestimates the actual market value.   

 

2.  Trulia

 Trulia is another major player in the online realty space, proving to be a useful tool for a wide scope of homebuyers.

Pros

Trulia’s user interface experience is quite positive. It’s an easy-to-navigate website, with options to view hundreds of listings in various formats, including by photo, in a list format, or even through a neighborhood map.

You can set specific search criteria, similar to Zillow, including price, size, home type, and more. It goes even further to provide local school ratings, crime reports, and reviews from current neighborhood residents.

Cons

Trulia also gets criticism for their home value estimates. It uses recent sale prices and other housing data but leaves out valuable information that ultimately affects the overall price of a house. This causes their evaluations to vary substantially and should be taken with a grain of salt.

 

3. Realtor.com

Realtor.com is another good option when compiling a list of potential purchase-worthy homes.

Pros

Realtor.com gets all of its data directly from Multiple Listing Services (MLS) and continuously updates listings every 15 minutes. This will give you a more accurate look at a property’s current status.

The platform also offers community information and other statics regarding market overviews. This will give you a better insight into different neighborhoods.   

Cons

Realor.com excludes homes for-sale by the current owner. This could limit your search, preventing you from seeing all available properties that meet your criteria.

 

4. Redfin

Redfin is built to help you find the right house and the right real estate agent all in one place. 

The benefits are twofold. While it looks like a typical home search website, Redfin is actually a fully functioning real estate brokerage. 

Pros

Redfin uses advanced technology and data to give homebuyers the ultimate experience. You can go on virtual home tours, with 3D renderings and multiple interactive angles. It’s similar to Google’s Street View feature, but for the home’s interior.  

The website also has an agent search function. You can view the real estate agent’s previous sales and even read client reviews. It’s essentially a one-stop-shop for finding both a home and an agent. 

Cons

Redfin is not set up to be a nationwide product quite yet. It’s an up-and-coming company that’s working to provide services in every neighborhood. But for now, they only do business in select locations.  

 

Important Things To Look for

When viewing multiple homes on an online search tool, there are a few key items to look out for in terms of the property details and description. 

Overview

  • Listing Price
  • Property Taxes and Assessment
  • Number of Days on the Market
  • Price History and Changes
  • Scheduled Open Houses

Property Details

  • Number of Bedrooms and Bathrooms
  • Square Footage
  • Lot Size
  • Year Built
  • Property Type and Style
  • Heating and Air Conditioning

Neighborhood Information

  • Nearby Schools
  • Crime Rate
  • Commute Time

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