If you’ve looked at homes online for fun or with the serious intention of buying a home, then you know it can be a bit overwhelming! Which website should you use? Which real estate agent should you choose? Is this a scam? There are many questions and concerns that surround looking for a home online, but one thing is for certain: these days, online search is almost always part of finding a home!
Here are 4 tips on things to keep in mind when you're searching for a home online:
Use online searches to narrow down what you like and don’t like. Especially if you’re searching for a home with a partner, it will be helpful to look at homes together and share what your preferences are. Do you prefer a brand new home, while your partner wants something vintage? Are you willing to remodel, while your partner isn’t as interested? It will be important to figure out what you’re willing to compromise on.
Figure out what is available in your market. If you dream of owning a mid-century modern home but there just aren’t any in your market, then you’ll need to compromise. Or maybe you’re hoping to find a 3-bedroom home for under $250,000, but your market is more expensive. These are all helpful things to know so you can be realistic about what to expect.
Use reputable online home searches. Reputable websites like Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and Redfin all offer a place to start. (If you’re searching for a home in Baltimore or in a surrounding neighborhood, you can use our quick and easy search here!) You should definitely avoid looking at Craigslist, as these places can be hotbeds of scams.
Keep in mind that homes often appear different online than they do in person. This could be for better or for worse. Pictures, videos, and 3-D tours of homes online can give you a great idea of what a home is all about, and can help you decide if you’d like to go to an open house and take a tour. The real test as to whether or not you want to commit to a home will be visiting it in person. Is the living room a LOT smaller than it seemed in the photos? Is one of the bedrooms really more like a closet? Don’t be fooled or fall in love with a home too fast!