House hunting can be overwhelming, whether you’re a first-time buyer or have been through the process before. One of the first places that many people start their search is online. There are countless websites with active real estate listings showing homes near you and sharing information on how to make it through the buying process. Let’s look at a few ways to get the most out of your online home search.
Choose a Location Before Starting Your Online Home Search
While it’s tempting to see what is on the market before you establish location parameters for your search, it’s a better idea to start by thinking about where you want to live.
How far away do you want to move? What types of things do you want to have quick access to around your new home? If you work in an office, how long of a commute are you comfortable with? By starting with location, you will also get a better idea of your price range.
Think About Your Price Range
When you start an online home search, set a preferred price range for your new house. Think about what other expenses you are responsible for and how much cash you can comfortably pay on your down payment. If the market is competitive, think about looking for a home at the lower end of your budget so you can offer over the asking price.
Be Honest About Deal-Breakers
It’s important to be flexible with your online home search, particularly if you have a small geographic radius or a tight budget. Even if you are open to different types of properties, you probably still have a handful of deal-breakers that would mean a home is not right for your family.
Whether you want a big fenced-in lawn for your dog or you don’t want a yard because you don’t have time to maintain it, make a list of things that are important to you on your new property.
Take a Tour from Your Couch During an Online Home Search
Many listings today include 3D house tours that allow you to tour the living spaces without needing to visit them in person. While this is not a substitute for an inspection or visit before you make an offer, it will give you an idea of whether you like the layout of the space. If there isn’t a video walkthrough available, don’t hesitate to ask the agent for one.