These days, thousands of home listings are at your fingertips on real estate websites. If you are looking for a home to buy, you can spend hours browsing listings and never really get anywhere. There are ways to make your online home search more efficient and effective. Here are 5 tips for how to browse house listings online.
Set Your Budget
One of the most important factors when buying a home is budget. If you simply don’t have the money for a home at a particular price, why waste time looking at it? These days, it is very rare that you will be able to buy a home for lower than the asking price. Determine your budget based on your pre-approval amount and your other expenses. Then set a top price limit in the filter of the real estate website you are searching for and don’t look at any listings that are more expensive.
Wants and Must-Haves for Your Online Home Search
When buying a new home, figure out what features you want in your new home and what you must have. Some things are preferences that would be nice but are not necessary. Work with your family and agent to make a list of your wants and must-haves. This will help direct your online home search. All of your must-haves can be specified in your search by filtering out homes that do not have certain features.
Determine Your Size Preferences
If you have an idea of what sized home you would like to move into, apply a filter so your search will return the best homes for you. You can enter in minimum and maximum square feet, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, or all three. You may want a bigger or smaller home that you already have, so specify this in your search.
Be Specific About Location in Your Online Home Search
Many potential homebuyers start looking for a new home because they want a new location. The location has a big influence on home value and how much it is projected to grow. Research different cities and areas of town and hone in on the neighborhoods you prefer. You can specify a location for your online search by county, city, neighborhood, zip code, or even by drawing your own border.
Hire a Real Estate Agent
Just because you are doing some legwork by looking up listings online doesn’t mean that you don’t need an agent to help you buy a home. A real estate agent does much more than find available homes, but they may be able to alert you about homes that haven’t been listed online yet too.