Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind.
1. Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you use a website that pulls listings directly from the MLS where Real Estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter. An independent study conducted by the WAV Group, a national consultancy specializing in Real Estate technology, found that local brokerage websites give the most complete, accurate and timely information about homes for sale compared to other sites like Zillow or Craigslist.
2. Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fish-eye lens to make areas look larger, and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
3. See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your Real Estate agent to schedule a showing. Contacting the listing agent directly may not be in your best interest since their job is to represent the seller. You will want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your Real Estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.
4. Be aware of scams. Due to the fact that anyone has the ability post homes for sale on sites like Zillow and Craigslist, disreputable people occasionally place false listings in an attempt to steal your personal information or trick you into sending them money for a down payment. Always remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
The Internet can be a helpful resource. Combined with the guidance of a Real Estate professional, online house shopping can bring you one step closer to the home of your dreams. If you're in the market to buy a new home and aren't currently working with a Realtor, contact us to match you up with one of our highly experienced agents. Click here to contact a specific agent.