Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but there are a few things you really must know. Looking online obviously 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 to gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following four things in mind.
- Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (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. Feel free to use my free site TheAngelOakGroup.com that updates every hour. Plus you can create your own personal profile where you can save searches, get notifications on your exact dream home, and more!
- 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 fisheye 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 But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
- If you are searching on sites like Zillow remember while those sights can provide you with tons of little info like neighborhood demographics and everyone’s favorite feature… the Home Value Estimate. Um, this is a legit estimate. It is rarely accurate. Trust your REALTOR® to help you understand the true value of the home you have fallen for. A computer is great for pulling data but it still takes a trained mind to understand the data and analyze it properly. So trust your agent to help you navigate price.
- See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You 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.