Maximizing the Web in Your Real Estate Search
Before selecting a real estate agent or buying a home, most consumers head to the Internet first. Over 70% of those buyers found their home using a mobile device.
Researching homes and real estate agents online can get you ahead of the game when it comes to narrowing down your options. But with so many sites and sources to choose from, an online search can be exhausting…and sometimes futile. Here’s a guide to help you navigate the web when searching for a home or real estate agent.
The online open house never closes: All major real estate brokers have websites that showcase their listings. You can search by town, price range, number of bedrooms, etc. As important, a broker or agent IDX enabled site (Internet Data Exchange) gives you granular access to every active listing via a direct feed from the local MLS, which is continuously updated.
You can also leverage the search tools available through major home listing portals such as Zillow and Realtor.com. These digital open houses give buyers a good sense of what the house looks like…and they’re open 24/7.
Searching for a real estate agent: While a referral from a trusted friend or colleague is a great way to find an agent to work with, be sure to dig deeper. Search for the suggested agents on Google and social media sites like Facebook and Twitter to find out more about them and their online presence. This will help you get a feel for who they are as a person and how they conduct business, including how they use social media and other online venues to search or market homes.
Need to sell first? A great way to find an agent to list your home is to look at properties on the market in your area. Find homes similar to the one you are trying to sell and search for those listing agents online—they’ll usually have a personal website. Once you’ve narrowed down potential agents, be sure to meet with them in person and ask specific questions related to your needs.
Do your homework: To ensure you won't be disappointed or become emotionally invested in a new home for sale that is out of your price range, get pre-approved for a mortgage loan. The last thing you want to do is fall in love with a property and realize that you can't afford it. Online mortgage calculators can help you get a sense of what you can realistically afford.
Sources: TreasureCoastHomeSales.com, AOL Real Estate
Eric Slifkin, a Broker Associate, is the founder of the Slifkin Team at Keller Williams Realty. Eric and his team of experienced agents serve South Florida and the Treasure Coast, including Stuart, Port Saint Lucie, and the Palm Beaches.