Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. Good listing agents are excellent at highlighting the best features of the home, but keep in mind there may be more than meets the eye. To make the most of your time and efforts and gather a well-rounded picture of home listings online, keep the following three things in mind.
- Stay up to date. When you start your search, make sure you find a site that pulls up-to-date listings directly from the multiple listing service (MLS) where real estate agents actively post their most current homes for sale. Many online resources update less often or fail to remove listings that are off the market, making it more difficult to sort through the clutter. Some websites/agencies update their listings more frequently than others. Bear one thing in mind though - In Ontario, all of the data is pulled from the MLS and a licensed real estate agent/broker are the only people with full REAL TIME access.
- Pictures can be deceiving. Real estate photographers are experts at showing a home in the best possible light. Many use tools and strategies to boost appeal, such as a fisheye lens to make areas look larger and creative editing to make colors and textures really pop. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated bathrooms.
- Make sure you've clearly set out your must-haves (necessities) so that you can tick off the boxes as you move from one listing to the next online.
- Have your agent set you up for periodic/automatic emails directly from the MLS. This is handled by a few different software solutions depending on which area(s) you are interested in targeting. You'll enjoy the convenience of browsing a refined and updated list based on your criteria - before any other buyers see these listings on the public websites. These platforms also allow you to quickly communicate with your agent by creating "hotlists" or "wishlists"
- Have your agent review the market trends in the area and/or look up some of the comparables yourself (either currently for sale or recently sold) to get a better sense of the trend.
- See it to believe it. Once you find what appears to be your dream home online, call up your real estate agent and schedule a live or virtual showing. Many listings have virtual showings and interactive floorplans posted online nowadays. Whenever possible (especially post-covid) you will want to take the opportunity to vet the home in person and explore every part of it before beginning the offer process. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of. GOOD LUCK!!! firstname.lastname@example.org