House Hunting Online
The best way to find a house is to call up a real estate expert like myself. Come in to the office, sit down, and discuss your needs and wants and finances. A good agent will learn what you look for in a house and apply your own criteria to every house they walk in. The next step is to visit a mortgage broker and find out exactly what you can afford. If you haven't done that yet, I can almost guarantee that the number you have in your head is either too high or too low.
You probably won't do either, not yet. This is a blog on the internet. You are reading it. People who spend lots of time on the internet like to do things themselves. Face to face human contact is a major inconvenience these days. Why not find the home yourself online, and text an agent asking them to set up a viewing. Perhaps they will agree to hide in the garage while you view the property, then you won't have to make eye contact.
The fact you are reading this blog is also a clear signal that you are very smart, so you probably can do this on your own successfully. I have a few tips that should help you as you search. Listing agents are sneaky, and it is not hard to hide defects in an online listing. To maximize the efficiency of the time you spend, keep these 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. I prefer the home spotter app on cell phones and tablets. It really is a great app, both accurate and easy to use. If you follow that link and add your phone number, you will get a link texted to your phone. The app is branded to me which might be part of why I want you to click there instead of searching for yourself, but it really is the best.
- 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. Most listings will not contain photos of undesirable parts of the home, such as out of date bathrooms, creepy sheds or ghostly hauntings. If it looks good, there's a picture of it. So why are there only two bathrooms in the photos of a 3 bedroom house? There are all sorts of possible reasons, but it definitely isn't that the third bathroom was too beautiful to be shared.
- Be realistic. Know the difference between wants and needs. No matter your price range, something a little better is just outside it. Be creative, be smart, and be flexible with which houses you tour. At least initially. Don't buy a house you don't love, but don't miss the chance the tour a house you would've fallen in love with, just because it was in a neighborhood you didn't realize was awesome. Who knows? Maybe the ghosts in that haunted house are actually really kind or are really good at handicapping football games. You could get rich!