Twenty years ago house hunters were dependent on real estate agents for most house, neighborhood, and community information. This made the home-buying process something of a hit-or-miss proposition.
Nowadays, people looking for a new home have an array of websites, apps, and social media tools at their disposal, which together provide almost instant access to property listings, home value information, neighborhood reviews, and more, which means house hunting is a far more pleasant experience than it used to be.
Helpful house-hunting websites
Home hunters can get access to many of the same property listings that professional real estate agents do through the Multiple Listing Service online. Simply search by state and enter your budget range to view detailed home listings that are complete with price information and photographs.
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Then schedule a home tour on your own if you’re representing yourself, or tell your agent which properties you’d like to visit. To pull up the same real estate listings advertised in major newspapers every week, try Home Finder.
Are you curious about how much that new house you crave is really worth? Do you want to know how much the house sold for the last time it changed hands? You can obtain house value and sales information as well as photographs, maps, and more using Zillow.
All smart home buyers should check the crime statistics in their community of interest before committing to purchasing a home there. A convenient website that consolidates crime information from every neighborhood and city in America is Neighborhood Scout.
Smartphone apps for exploring homes and neighborhoods
Before your next house hunting trip, load the following helpful apps onto your smartphone:
- Homesnap lets you take a photograph of a property you’re interested in and receive information about it instantly, from its most recent selling price to data about nearby schools.
- The Sitewise app provides you with a variety of neighborhood information, including aerial maps, local census data, and demographic profiles.
- The My-waste app will supply you with information about local recycling and waste collection programs, based on street address, so you can find out how “green” your potential new neighborhood, according to recycling container manufacturer Securr.
Social Media Tools for Home Buying
Not sure what kind of house you want? Peruse thousands of photographs of actual homes and properties to figure out which styles and features you prefer for your next home on Houzz or Pinterest.
Next, try Block Avenue or Street Advisor to skim through crowd-sourced reviews about individual neighborhoods and streets in your new home town.
Remember to log in to your own social media accounts such as Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ to crowd-source opinions from your friends and family. Share images of the houses you’re interested in, and ask for everybody’s impressions about particular neighborhoods and communities
Ask people for home-hunting advice. If you’re not sure which prospective house is your favorite, set up a poll to ask your personal network to weigh in on which option you should select.
Armed with these websites, apps, and social media tools, you’ll be able to find the home of your dreams with ease.