Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. An experienced Real Estate Advisor | REALTOR® should be part of your home search process. They can be an excellent sounding board and can bring real value to your home search process. They can help you define your requirements from must-haves to like-to-haves and can offer insights into how to go about finding homes that meet your requirements.
Keep in mind that not all listings are up-to-date and some don't always tell it like it is. There may be more there or less there than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts to get a well-rounded picture of available home listings online, keep the following things in mind.
Not all sites are up-to-date & accurate...
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.
Pictures can be deceiving and are not always current...
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 But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
Some homeowners and real estate agents will utilize photos from previous listings, some of which may be out dated. Take note of the age of the home and whether the listing denotes upgrades and look for discrepancies in the photos. The newer the home the more likely it is to see photos being used from when the home was purchased as new.
Look beyond just online listings...
There is so much information than listings online! There are great sites offering neighborhood information, including everything from walk scores to school ratings, crime statistics, and more. All of this data helps you be more informed in the home buying process.
People are also turning to 3D virtual tours to view a property and even stage their furniture to see how things do or don’t work in the space. A home is a very personal purchase, and being able to walk through the space in this unique manner can make or break a sale. Don't be afraid to turn to new technologies that can help show you a different angle in conjunction with your in-person tour.
See it to believe it...
Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call your Real Estate Advisor | REALTOR® and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to see the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of when looking at photos.
Leverage the expertise and experience of a trusted real estate agent...
Online tools are great for research, communicating, and staying current with the market. But nothing can replace the knowledge and expertise of a good local agent. Plus, your agent is there to be your guide and advocate in the process.
Online tools are an excellent way to begin dreaming about a new home. They help you get a general sense of the market, weigh your expectations against your needs, and get excited for the steps ahead. But no property listing is comprehensive.
So once you have gotten your feet wet online, it is always a smart move to have a trusted Real Estate Advisor | REALTOR® interpret and contextualize each home and neighborhood you are interested in pursuing. With both tools in your back pocket, the journey will be so much smoother.
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