Can You Find the Right House Online?

by c21commonweath_ldowling 26. December 2019 08:56


In today’s world, anyone with a smartphone has an enormous amount of information at their fingertips. This gives modern home buyers a major advantage over those of past generations. Instead of driving around neighborhoods to see what’s for sale or counting on a realtor to know all of their preferences from the get-go, they can look at houses online to narrow down their search before bringing in professional help.

Using online resources is essential to finding your ideal home and neighborhood quickly. Here are some tips that will make your online search more effective.

First Things First

Before you start shopping for houses, take a few preliminary steps to set your search up for success.

  1. Know What You Can Afford
    Few things are more frustrating than finding the perfect house, then realizing you can't afford it. Before you start your search, take a thorough account of your income and expenses to set realistic expectations.
  2. Start Saving for Your Down Payment
    For most people, buying a house means having a mortgage. You can usually get better terms on a loan if you have a larger down payment, so start saving now.
  3. Get Preapproved
    Getting approved for a loan before you need it is the sensible thing to do. If you ever find yourself in a multiple offer situation, preapproval can make the difference between you and another potential buyer.

Starting Your Search

While you can find a lot of good info online by yourself, working with a realtor is still well worth it. Real estate professionals have access to multiple listing services that typically have the most current and accurate information. If you’d still like to go it alone for a while before bringing in a realtor, websites like Zillow, Trulia, and have the best information available to consumers.
For the most effective search:
  1. Be Specific
    How many bedrooms do you want? How many bathrooms? What is your price range? All the real estate websites give you the option to limit your search so you only see the houses that meet your criteria. Narrowing your search keeps you from being overwhelmed.
  2. Learn the History
    Before you commit to a home, look into its history. How long has it been on the market? Is it a foreclosure? How many foreclosures are in the area? What comparable houses have sold recently? The answers to these questions will give you valuable information that can help you when it comes time to negotiate.
  3. Know the Neighborhood
    Do you have kids, or do you plan to have them? It’s worth looking for a place with good schools, parks, and other family-friendly amenities nearby. Want to use public transit? You'll want a property within walking distance of a stop.
  4. Closing the Deal
    If you haven’t brought in a realtor by the time you’re ready to make an offer, make sure to do so now. A knowledgeable agent will have insight into each house's potential and the experience to help you negotiate a great deal.
If you’re looking for a home in the Greater Boston area, use our Property Search tool and follow our suggestions above. Let us know when you’ve found a few options that interest you—one of our agents will be happy to help you on the next leg of the journey.