7 Ways to Make Your Online Home Search Easier

November 7, 2013

Looking for a home online has become the first step in the home search approach. With so many choices and so little time, here are some search tips to help you get the most out of your online search and reduce your time in front of your computer screen. Use Real Estate Specific Search Engines - Rather than spending hours clicking through photos, target your desired city or zip code in Zillow, Trulia or Realtor.com and get specific results in your area of choice. New Home Search Sites Are Out There - If you are specifically looking for new homes or a homebuilder, you can use homes.com and newhomesource.com. With many of the same features as Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com, these two search engines specialize in helping you find the right new construction neighborhood. Narrow By Neighborhood - On each of these sites there are different ways to narrow down the neighborhood. You can pull up maps of the zip code or city you've selected. Various information tabs will show you all kinds of useful information from school quality to commuting information. Look at Market Summaries - Both Trulia and Zillow allow you to see a home's particular history. You can see when it was last purchased and for how much. Also by using their algorithms, it shows the up and down trajectory of the value over time (As predicted by their formula, these are not real appraisals and can be skewed). Draw a Search Boundary - Sometimes when you are searching for a new home, you may not be aware of the zip code or your desired search area may straddle several different zip codes or cities. If that is the case, both Zillow and Trulia, allow you to draw your own search area. Stay Alert - Once you find the area you want to search using some of the methods above, you can ask the search engines to send you alerts when any new homes become available in your search area. Filter, Filter, Filter - The more specific you can be, the more honed in the search engines can be with your results. Always take a look at the advanced search options. You can search by new construction, foreclosure, or short sale. But you can also add in important information about square footage, amenities, and so on. By using various new home and real estate search engines, it will help you narrow down your choices quicker and cut down on valuable time in front of your computer. The next step is getting out to see the communities and seeing if they look as good in person as they do online.
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