Get the Most Out of Your Online Home Search
Setting up your online home search is an important step in the home buying journey. With the right parameters in place, not only will you be alerted of new listings, but you’ll start to gain a better understanding of prices and inventory for specific areas. Our team helps home buyers build custom searches everyday and we’ve outlined some key pointers below to help you get the most out of your online home search.
Home Search Websites
Zillow and Redfin are two of the most popular home search sites. If you’re working with an agent, we recommend utilizing their in-house home search tool (like ours here). This will allow your agent to more quickly and easily view your favorite properties from the backend.
Setting Up Your Search
1. Price Range
One of the first steps in your home buying journey should start with meeting a lender to get pre-approved for a loan. This is vital for a couple of reasons. First, you’ll know what your budget is (ask for you maximum). Second, with a pre-approval letter in-hand, you will be ready to write an offer as soon as you find your perfect home. If you’re not quite ready for pre-approval, just speaking with a lender will provide clarity on what you will need down the road.
2. Location, Location, Location
When selecting your desired location take into account where you want to spend the most time. That could be in the heart of the city or out on acreage in the suburbs with no neighbors in sight. Some other notable considerations include school districts, county, and commute times to work and frequently visited areas (doctor’s office, family, etc.).
Pro Tip: Extending your area to include close-in suburbs can potentially save you money on the purchase price and in taxes.
3. Property Type
Dreaming of a home with a large, fenced yard? Or maybe condo living is the best fit for your lifestyle? Narrow your search to show you results for your desired property type.
The most popular property type options are:
Single Family Homes – A free standing residential home, designed and built to be inhabited as a single-dwelling unit.
Townhouses – Dwellings that have their own exterior entrance but are attached to additional units that share either one or two walls with another townhouse. No other units will be above or below and many include private yards.
Condos – A unit within a housing or residential complex. Usually very low-maintenance as the HOA will likely cover exterior and some interior upkeep.
Land & Lots – A parcel of land intended for a new construction home build.
Pro Tip: If you’re interested in both condos and single family homes, consider creating a unique search for each property type.
4. Property Features
Figure out what features are an absolute must for your dream home. If you’re unsure of exact features, or you’re flexible, just make sure to include minimum beds and baths. If you want to narrow down your search even more, some common feature filters include garage, basement, central air conditioning. We’d recommend adding specific feature filters only when the feature is an absolute must-have.
Once you start finding desirable homes, your agent will help obtain additional details on the property and arrange for private showings. When evaluating homes, we recommend the 80/10/10 rule: If you find a home that fulfills 80% of your requirements, 10% fixable aspects, and 10% of things you don’t prefer but could live with – it’s a keeper!
Let the Green Buck Real Estate team be your neighborhood specialist! We’ll help you build the best fit search(es) for your needs. Reach out to set up a no-obligation consultation with us today or get started on your own search today.