According to a report by Realtor.org, about 9 out of 10 homebuyers use the Internet to search for homes. It makes sense though. Searching for your new home on the Internet is much easier, especially if you don’t have a ton of spare time on your hands. Starting online can also help narrow down your search when you actually get ready to move towards purchasing a new home.
Whether you’re moving across the country or around block, most of us will start house hunting online. I’ve got a couple of tips to help you with your research so you don’t waste your time or money.
Start Searching On a Reliable Site
The Internet is full of shady sites and scammers. I would generally avoid sites like Craigslist and go to legit real estate websites like Realtlor.com, Homes.com or Zillow.com. These are considered by experts to be the top places on the web to search for a home.
Research Local Neighborhoods to Narrow Down the Search
This is particularly important, especially if you don’t know a lot about the area you plan to move to. Even so, many of us may not be all that familiar with other suburbs or towns around us. Before you type “homes for sale in (insert city name here)” in Google, learn about the area that might be your new stomping grounds.
Be Wary of Photos
Photos can help you get a better look at the house, but some sellers may only pick photos that show their home in the best light. Sure, the kitchen has new counters, appliances and flooring, but who knows what other problems lurk right in the next room.
Don’t Get Too Attached to the Homes You Look At
Narrowing down your home search online certainly helps when you start to do leg work, but try to keep an objective mindset. Remember that the home in question might not live up to your expectations in person.
Write Down Questions You Have About the Home
Most real estate sites have short ads with a few photos and even less information. If you decide to look at the home in person, use your time online to create a list of questions to ask the relator or seller once you look at the home in person.
Once you find a few homes you like online, contact a local real estate agent. They can help you get started on the next phase of your home buying journey.
Searching for homes online can help reduce the legwork needed when you start visiting homes you might purchase. The important thing to keep in mind is not falling in love immediately after you see the ad online. Tap into your inner skeptic and question every aspect of the home.
You don’t want to be deceived by the ad online – especially when it involves a large investment like a mortgage.
Have you looked at homes online before? Share what your experience was like with other Zing readers!
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