Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be the only resource you use. 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 gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following information in mind:
- Everything online is not always 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.
- Pictures can be deceiving. While great photos are important to showcase the desirable feature of the home, real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. They may try to capture the excitement of the home by using 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 But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
Only relying on your online research may also cause you to have an inaccurate idea of home values. Anyone who has sold a home, bought a home or even looked for a house will most likely use sites like Trulia or Zillow. These are third party real estate websites. These sites are not local websites and do not factor in all the details that go into establishing what a home is worth like, school districts, desirable area, etc. A third-party real estate website based out of California is not going to be able to provide accurate home values for say Toledo, Ohio. Online estimates can lead to frustration because a home seller or buyer may get there hopes up thinking the home is worth more than it is or undervalues a desirable property. A real estate agent will be able to provide a more accurate estimate of the home’s value utilizing their “local” perspective that a virtual website could never duplicate. So, by all means, start the process of finding your home online! It’s an exciting part of the home buying process. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, engage a licensed real estate agent who will schedule a showing. This will give you the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Best of all, your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of. If you’ve found some homes online that pique your interest, give us a call today so we can help narrow down your options to the home that’s just right for you!