When searching the Internet for your next home, keep these simple but effective tips in mind:
- Use a website that allows you to customize your search. Many websites out there only let you search their company listings. You want to use a search tool that allows you to search all Broker listings.
- Sign up with the website so that you can get all the info on every listing and save your searches. If you have been searching for a while, you know how hard it is to keep track of all the homes you see. Using a service that lets you create favorites lists, write notes, and schedule showings is a must. You will need a good system to track your search activity.
- Use a real estate agent in conjunction with your online search. Most Multiple Listing Services (MLS) that feed data to the online search tools do not transmit private agent remarks. These private remarks often have important information that you need to know. There are also great websites out there that allow you to write notes for your agent on the individual properties. One of my favorites comes from a company called Listing Book.
- Check to make sure the website is from a trustworthy source. Many states and/or MLS boards require real estate websites to give agent or broker information. Always look for a department of real estate license number and contact info about the owners or managers of the website. If they are not willing to give you their information, you shouldn’t either.
- Do test out different websites. You should try a national website, a local website and a broker or agent website. There are many differences in these websites and you should use the one that works best for you.
- Use a website that gives you easy access to school and neighborhood information. The website should have a quick and easy to use interface where you can easily see this school and neighborhood data. You should be able to map the home’s location so that you can easily see a Google or other type of map of the surrounding area. I like to use a Google map since it lets me travel around the neighborhood and see what the other homes in the area look like and get a general idea of the neighborhood.
Carlos Barron is a real estate professional servicing the Southern California Market. He can be reached via www.CarlosBarron.com or 714-982-2300