Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. 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 three things in mind.
- Stay 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. 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 But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
- See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a showing. You want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of.
Remember, while the internet can bring you so much information at your fingertips, having a good real estate agent by your side is like having the best vehicle going through a maze.
- At a minimum, your agent will do the following: (1) Search the Multiple Listing Service for homes that meet your needs. (2) Coordinate showings of these properties. (3) Help you evaluate the seller’s asking price by using recent sales data. (4) Help you determine an amount to offer and write up the offer to present to the seller. (5) Negotiate with the seller on your behalf. (6) Explain to you contracts and their terms.
- In addition to handling the specific tasks above, they’ve been through the process hundreds of times, so they’ll be able steer you straight and keep on tracks with your goals and budget.
- The best way to find a real estate agent is to tap into your social network. Ask if anyone has bought a home recently, and if they can recommend a talented agent. Ask around at work. Ask your friends and family who live in the area.