The home buying and home selling processes are riddled with research. You have to acquire detailed information on your financial circumstances, the experts to help you, the qualities you want in your home, and actual homes that have these qualities. And once this part is done, you have to conduct even more research on the property, negotiating prices, home inspectors, appraisers, and title companies. It seems like a never-ending process.
The number of people looking to buy homes online has grown exponentially. According to an article by the National Association of Realtors linked here, real estate related searches on Google have grown over 250% in the past 5 years. Online and mobile tools are becoming more and more crucial to this industry. What are the best online tools out there for your home search?
The Multiple-Listing Services (MLS)
The truth is, the most reliable source for home listings is the multiple-listing service, also known as the MLS. This will give you the most up-to-date information on listed homes and can only be accessed by real estate agents and other real estate professionals. If you are serious about wanting to buy a home, you will want to invest in a real estate agent who can get listings for you through the MLS or give you indirect access to this platform. Unlike many popular real estate sites, the MLS is updated instantly and is clear about which homes are still on the market and which are not. Find more information on why the MLS is the most reliable here.
How to Search for Homes Online for non-MLS Users
However, it’s likely that you want to conduct preliminary searches before investing in an agent to give you MLS access. The good news is that you don’t need the MLS. You can search for homes online using Huntington & Ellis’s Home Search tool.
Simply go to huntingtonandellis.com/home-search. This page employs our IDX property search perfect for suiting your individual needs. Here you can sift through our inventory or narrow down your options by price range, community, type of home, and other features.
What You Should Search For
In order to use these online tools, you must use researching tactics. Your tactic depends on where you are in the buying or selling process. If you’re unsure what exactly you want in a home and just want to see what’s out there, your searches will likely be broader. As you figure out what’s important to you, your queries will become more specific. This is when you might need an agent’s help.
That said, although the majority of real estate research is done online, some of the most important research you can do is visiting the home in person. Once you set your heart on a home, be sure to time how long it takes to commute there from your work (not just relying on Google Maps) and what the community and street are like. If you feel a bit bold, introduce yourself to your potential next-door neighbors and see what their lifestyles are like. Ask them about local schools and visit the schools to note their quality. Ask the local police department about safety and crime rates. Visit the HOA and community recreation center, if there is one. All of these factors affect your home’s value whether they matter to you personally or not.
When it comes to research, the sources you go to and what you ask mean everything. If you aren’t committed enough to get an agent that can send you MLS listings, look into our Home Search tool featuring an IDX property search feature to narrow down what you want. Whether you are an experienced agent or a first-time buyer or seller, persistence in your research will take you a long way.
You may also be interested in Our Listings and Community Search tool.
Want to learn more from someone on Our Team? Feel free to Contact Us. We're happy to help.