There’s no doubt about it, the internet is now an intrinsic part of the process of buying and selling homes, whether we like it or not. The majority of people looking to buy a home typically search the web for homes for sale in their desired area.
Savvy buyers and sellers can compare stock from the comfort of their homes at any time of day or night. But when it comes time to buy, there’s more to it than just clicking send.
The Online Real Estate Network
First things first, make sure what you are searching through is worthwhile. You may enjoy searching through lists of fancy homes, but if you are spending a lot of time daydreaming about houses you can’t afford, it is a waste of time. If you want to find a home, look within your price range.
This is a nice segue into the next point: getting pre-approved for a mortgage. It truly is the first step to home buying. It tells you exactly what you can afford, thereby giving you a price range to look within. It allows you to get your finances organized before searching, which means you won’t deter from the budget you set for yourself. It also tells sellers you are serious and prevents losing a home you are interested in, while the sellers accept an offer from someone more prepared.
Another thing internet listings are great for is comparative shopping. You might see a great home but aren’t sure if the price is realistic. A few clicks can show you what other homes in the area are selling for, and also what other types of homes are available in the same price range.
While you can find homes for sale, and even lots of great buying and selling tips on the internet, nothing beats the knowledge and expertise of a certified realtor—a real, live person. There is a lot of legal-talk and small-print involved in real estate sales documents. Do yourself a huge favor and always have a professional look over the paperwork of your real estate transaction.
Don’t rely on other parties’ professionals. After all, they work for the other party. You want an experienced professional who is working for you to verify that the contract is fair and legitimate. Even if you don’t hire them for their full services, most real estate agents will help you with parts of a transaction for a small fee.
If you are searching around on the internet for great listings, look for an agent that is also web-savvy. Some agents have very clear, user-friendly, readable, and informative web sites. Then there are those web sites that are just factory filler. You can tell by reading the text if they are trying to appeal to you, or just manipulating search engines to get into the top ten list. If a site doesn’t have a person behind it, one with a bio about themselves, and clear listings of what homes they have for sale, then it isn’t worth your time.
The key is, no matter what you find on the web, your real estate transaction will happen in real life. So it’s best to use the internet as one of many tools in your search for the perfect home or to get an overall “starter” idea of what you want. Although the internet provides us with a wide variety of options, sometimes it’s best to go the “old-fashioned” way and speak with a realtor.