As you can imagine, many modern house hunters use digital tools to search for new property. In fact, around 90 percent peruse online listings at some point during the process, according to data from the National Association of Realtors and Google.
Despite its obvious advantages, this methodology does present some unique challenges. Before you settle into your comfiest chair for another digital house hunting session, review these salient strategies for finding a new home online.
Pinpoint the right resources
The internet is filled with home listing portals. These days, nearly every real estate company has its own website. Plus, listing aggregators seem to crop up with each new Google search. Obviously, sites that fall into the latter category will enable you to conduct a more efficient search.
Zillow is the most used real estate website, with over 35 million unique visitors per month, Statista reported. Users are attracted to its home value estimate engine, which mines public records to create “Zestimates.” The site also provides exhaustive property transaction histories and leverages third-party multiple listing service providers to offer up-to-date listings, U.S News and World Report found.
Trulia comes in second with around 23 million visitors per month. The site includes many of the same features found on Zillow, with the exception of property value estimate capabilities. However, Trulia does include a unique tool called “heat maps,” which enables users to view nearby businesses and schools, in addition to homes.
Evaluate entire neighborhoods
Some online house hunters stumble upon real contenders with ideal features and perfect asking prices, only to be disappointed by their surroundings. To avoid this situation, use web-based mapping services to evaluate entire neighborhoods, Remax suggested. Be sure to look for key public areas like parks and search for attractions that might enhance your living situation. Then, supplement your visual evaluation by finding data on local schools and researching crime statistics.
Make an in-person appearance
Of course, once you’ve found a few potential properties, make an in-person visit to confirm your digital findings. If during your house call you spot a compelling home you didn’t see online, download a mobile real estate application to mine the web for more information. For instance, HomeSnap allows house hunters to capture images of homes and uses them to look for applicable online home data available, Good Housekeeping reported.