Forbes.com reported that the Consumer Real Estate Index showed that potential homebuyers are more inclined now than ever to use technology as part of the overall real estate transaction, with nearly three-quarters stating they would use online sites to search for properties. Many experts say that number is likely even higher.
Odds are, if you’re searching for a home, whether it’s the homes for sale in San Diego, Miami, Boston or somewhere else, you’re looking online. The problem is, with so many property listings, how do you find that perfect home? It’s like the proverbial needle in a haystack.
Search No More Than Two Websites
There are thousands of real estate search websites, and most homes are listed on all of them, which means it makes no sense to try and search through them all. Find one, two at most, that are user-friendly, with good search tools that make it easier to narrow properties down. When you find the site or sites that work for you, sign up for an account so that you can save your searches. By saving search settings for your desired price range, size, location and features, you’ll be able to quickly perform a search next time without having to go through all that again.
Don’t forget to sign up for email notifications. You an get daily or weekly emails when new listings appear that match your criteria.
Stick to Your Price Range
The first thing to do even before searching for that perfect home, is to know what you can afford. It’s a good idea to get mortgage pre-approval to avoid disappointment and wasted hours. Choose a range when entering search criteria that is well-within your budget limits. It’s better to avoid homes that are at the very top end of your budget, that way you’ll have some wiggle room if there are multiple offers, allowing you to submit a higher offer without going over your limit.
Even if you already know which city you want to buy a house in, don’t forget about the neighborhood. There can be a significant difference from one to the next, each offering a different feel and catering to various lifestyles. Young homebuyers may want to be near all the action, while families may be searching for a more tranquil community close to schools. You can also use Google Maps to get an idea of how far it is from your workplace and other amenities. By searching specific neighborhoods, it will dramatically filter your property search, making it much more manageable.
Be Aware of the Buzzwords
Any real estate listing is going to frame the home in the best way possible to help detract from flaws and make it stand out from the rest. For example, a description that reads “a lot of potential,” probably means it’s going to take a lot of money to fix it up. “Charming” usually means small, and “cozy” even smaller, while “starter home,” often equals run down.