Pete’s Tips for Getting the Most out of Your Online Search
Most home buyers begin their home search on the internet. Use these tips to help shorten your time spent looking and actually find the home you’re looking for.
- 1. Narrow down the neighborhood. Sites like Trulia and Zillow can help you with learn about a specific neighborhood’s characteristics. Visit Trulia and click on the "Local Info" tab at the top, and it pulls up a map of the ZIP code or city you've selected, allowing you to overlay maps that show crime, commutes and school quality as well as local amenities. Both Zillow and Trulia also offer market summaries that track price history.
- 2. Put a ring around it. Search engines usually track information by ZIP code or city, but you might find that your preferred places to live straddle ZIP codes or municipalities. Zillow and Trulia offer a draw-your-own-search function, so you can literally circle your real-estate sweet spot. Trulia lets you do it on your computer by clicking on the hand symbol on the upper-right corner of the search map. (You can save the search when you're done.) With Zillow, the feature is available only on the mobile and iPad applications. Both allow you to get alerts on new listings or changes in your search zone.
- 3. Refine, refine, refine. Sure, you may have narrowed your results by bedrooms and price, but what about filtering to see only foreclosures, new construction, open houses or homes with a pool?
- 4. See if it's a seller’s market. When you select me as your agent and start looking in earnest, I will look at what homes are selling for relative to their list price. Did sellers get what they asked for? It is my job to help you find out these details.
- 5. Follow that home! Once you see some homes you like in your chosen area, call me and we will follow them just as you would a friend on Twitter. My team and I will get you updates on what's happening with prices, tell you when that home goes into escrow and, will get you recommendations of similar homes that fit the size and price requirements of the home you liked.
- 6. Take an app with you when you go out driving. Mobile apps are a great way to check out listings and navigate among open houses on the weekends. Or give me a call at (858) 764-4808 and I will let you know what open houses we are hosting.
- 7. Be wary of online agent recommendations. While the search engines are a good place to check out properties, they may not be the best way to pick your agent. Check out their recommendations, talk with them on the phone, or meet with them in their office. You will get a better feel for the way they do business and see first hand if they could be a good fit for you.