These days, it’s pretty much the norm to go looking for a new property on the Internet. Not only is an online home search so much more convenient, it’s also a great solution for people who want to scope out the market but don’t want to commit just yet. However, even if you’re just looking, it still pays to be efficient in your search.
Here are 7 ways to a better, more efficient online home search.
Talk to an agent.
Talking to a certified, trustworthy real estate agent is always the wisest first step especially if you’re completely new to the process. An agent can guide you through each step of the buying process and point you towards the right direction. They can tell you the best websites to search on, teach you how to spot the best listings, and help you create a rough profile of the home you’re looking for. Many top-notch realtors offer a free 30-minute to 1-hour first consultation, so take advantage of that.
Know where to look.
You’re looking for a home in two places: virtually and locally. On the Internet, you have to know which sites are reputable and can offer you a smooth-sailing search experience. Again, your agent can help you with this. On the map, you have to know which neighborhoods you want to move into. It’s not enough to know that you want to move into a state or city, you have to know which part of the city you really want to live in.
Set your budget.
Having a target and maximum budget can really help you narrow down your online search. Many property search websites allow you to filter according to price range, so if you know that you absolutely can’t go past a certain price point, then automatically filter out homes that cost more than that.
List down what you’re looking for.
Another effective way to narrow down your search is to make a list of what you want and what you absolutely can’t live with. Having a list for Must-Haves and another list for Deal-Breakers will help speed up your decisions on some of the homes you’re looking at.
Limit your search to listings with photos or virtual tours.
Photos can tell you a lot about a property. Even if listing photos often show give you the best views of a home, they can still help you discard some options due to a house layout that you don’t want, wall colors that you hate, or certain features that you can’t live with. You certainly can’t go to dozens of showings a day, but you wouldn’t even have to if you’ve already decided that you don’t like a property based on their photos alone.
Use the advanced search features.
You don’t have to scroll through hundreds of listings just to find one that you like. Lots of websites like HAR and RE/MAX have advanced search features to help you narrow down your search. From price range or location filters to number of beds and baths, you can choose whatever you need to make sure that you’re getting the search results you want.
Check in regularly and/or set up alerts.
You can’t expect to sit down in front of your computer and find the home of your dreams within an hour or two, so make sure you check in online every few days. If you’re always checking your emails, you can also set up email alerts so you’re notified whenever a new listing within your search parameters is up.
Doing an online home search is a legitimately effective way to get started on finding your dream home, but you have to do it efficiently. The tips above can help you narrow down your search and find the best properties much more quickly.