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Home Buying & Selling

3 Steps for Finding Your Perfect Home Online

4 Minute Read

Remember back in the day when your dream home was just a page-flip away in the magazine rack? Yeah, neither do we. Thirty years ago, home buyers relied solely on real estate agents to find the perfect home.

Then came the internet.

Today, home buyers have a world of information at their fingertips—and they’re not afraid to use it. In the last year, 93% of people used the internet to search for homes. And of those who ended up purchasing, 51% found their home online.(1)

With the wealth of knowledge provided by popular Multiple Listing Service (MLS) sites, such as Zillow, or Trulia, potential home buyers can do everything from view photos of a potential home to check the property tax history. They can even schedule a private tour of the house . . . all before stepping foot through the door.

So where does technology end and expertise begin?

Let’s take a look at the benefits of an MLS and how you can use the best of both worlds to make the most of your next home purchase. In this example, we’ll follow Bob and Betty Buyer through their search process.

Start Your Search

Bob and Betty are looking for a three-bedroom home between $150,000 and $200,000. The Buyers find all the basic nuts and bolts they need to know about a home at the first MLS site they check—from photos and features to schools and a brief property history. They make a top-10 list of their favorite homes to ensure they still have choices if any contenders get snatched up by other buyers.

Do Your History Homework

Now it’s time to dig a little deeper into the past and conduct a background check on each home. Moving onto another MLS that offers slightly different features, Bob and Betty take notes on

  • How long—and how often—the home has been on the market
  • Price changes since the seller listed the home
  • The number of foreclosures in the area
  • How much they can expect to pay in property taxes
  • Neighboring homes that recently sold

The Buyers decide to pass on one home after discovering it’s in a neighborhood with a few recent foreclosures. With nine homes remaining, they broaden their view.

Check Out the Neighborhood

Bob and Betty are expecting their first child—but still enjoy an active lifestyle—so finding a safe neighborhood with great schools and lots of amenities is a high priority. With their favorite homes in hand, the Buyers choose to explore the area around each house in more detail.

Using the heat map feature from one MLS, the Buyers look to see how each neighborhood stacks up. Here’s what they find:

  • Two homes are located in up-and-coming areas close to the city, but they have poorly ranked schools and a high incidence of theft.
  • Four homes are in the top school district with no recent crimes reported but come with a longer commute.
  • Three homes are zoned for good schools, have low crime ratings, and are super close to the Buyers’ favorite family hang outs, with easy access to public transit.

Ditching the first two homes, Bob and Betty decide to bring in an expert. Though their remaining home options all show estimated values, can a computer really factor in everything that goes into accurately pricing a home? No, that job calls for a pro!

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Get the Best Deal on the Home That’s Right for You

The Buyers know the internet is a great place to start their search, but nothing can replace the expertise of a pro. With instant access to homes as they come on (or off) the market, a real estate agent can provide real-time updates to help Bob and Betty beat other buyers to the punch. No website can do that

A good agent does more than schedule showings, so Bob and Betty hire the best of the best. Their agent guides them from search to success by sharing expert insight into each home’s pricing and potential, negotiating a great deal, and handling all the paperwork. When all is said and done, the Buyers feel confident knowing they made the decision that was right for them.

Are you looking for a top-notch expert to save you time and money on your new home? We can connect you with a real estate agent who’s earned Dave’s seal of approval in your area.


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