As you start looking for a new home, you definitely need all the advice and help you can get. It’s true that your real estate agent will give you plenty of information about homes and neighborhoods you’re interested in, but some people still like to do research on their own – but where do you start?
Here are the top eight websites that can give you advice and information to help you make an educated decision when buying your new home.
Zing! – Well, of course we think we’re a great resource for anyone thinking about buying a home! We like to help people get educated before they decide to make such an important decision. So, if you’re thinking about buying, check out our articles ranging from making an offer on a home, tips for the home buying process, to preparing for your mortgage closing.
HUD.gov – The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has several resources for people thinking about buying a home, including information about Fair Housing, predatory lending, RESPA and your rights as the borrower.
City-Data.com – Are you looking for demographics, crime date, cost of living, and other data about the neighborhood you’re interested in? By just entering the zip code of the home you’re interested in buying, City-Data will dig for the most recent demographics to give you a better idea of things such as the average household income, average household values, etc.
Family Watchdog – This site allows you to see where registered sexual offenders live and work around you and your family. They update their site, at least once daily. If you end up living in a home near a sexual offender, you can prepare yourself and your family better. For instance, some tips they include are reminding your kids about not talking to or accepting anything from strangers, calling 911 if a stranger approaches them, or using the buddy system when kids play outside.
Quizzle – By creating a free account with them, you get a free credit report, free credit score, budget planner, credit improvement tools, home value estimator and home loan recommendations. Also, you don’t need to provide a Social Security number to create an account, unlike other similar sites.
PicketReport – Do you want to learn about the lifestyle of the neighborhood? Want to know more about the safety of the area? You want to know how good the schools are? Just enter an address or zip code, and PicketReport will give you detailed info about the lifestyle segments for that area, crime rates, nearby amenities and school ratings.
Zillow – Not only can you look for homes for sale, but you can also look at commonly asked questions by home buyers and advice from real estate professionals. Keep in mind that if you’re looking for homes using Zillow or other similar sites, some homes may show as available when in reality they may be under contract or have several offers on them. So, it’s always good to check with your agent about the status of a listing.
Trulia.com – Similar to Zillow, Trulia offers a search for homes for sale as well as a Q&A, blogs and home buying guides ranging from how to afford a down payment to what is a pre-approval and why you need it.
If you’re looking to buy a home, or have recently bought one, what other sites have you found helpful?