Are you using an online home search to find your next home? Hunting for a new home online is a great place to start your search, but it should not be your end all be all. It is the listing agents duty to highlight the best features of the home. 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, there are a couple of tactics I suggest to my clients
Search on a reputable website
Speak to your real estate agent who can set you up with a custom website or email service for receiving current listings and changes. 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 as to what is truly available or not. If you don’t yet have an agent, then searching on Realtor.ca is a reliable source for current listings. My buyers get set up with their own Collaboration Centre. In the collaboration centre, buyers can see homes that match their search criteria, mark favorites, and get notified of homes that become sold and so much more.
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, and creative angles can hide flaws in a home. But, often listings will not contain photos of unappealing parts of the home, like small closets or outdated basements or the half fallen over fence. I teach my clients how to know when a fish eye lens is being used to make a room look bigger, and how looking at the trim in a room can tell you a lot about the condition of a home.
View the video walk through
Photos can easily be altered, but video is harder to fully edit. I encourage clients to view the video walk through or virtual tour available on a home. Not only do you get a better sense of layout of the home, but you can often look more closely at the condition of the cabinets, see the splattered paint on the ceiling or see how close the deck is the garage. The video may give you a more accurate representation of the space and layout to know if the home truly appeals to you.
See it to believe it
Once your online home search discovers what feels like the right home, call up YOUR real estate agent and schedule a showing. An agent who lists the home is working in the sellers best interest and may not be able to point out some aspects of the home that could influence your purchase. Having your own independent agent will ensure you get professional guidance through the entire home (the good, the bad and the ugly) and guide you before you even write an offer. Your real estate agent will help you cover all your bases and will ask questions you may not have thought of. Your agent can also help you see comparable homes in the same area, to make sure you aren’t spending too much on your home.
Keep your timeline in mind
Too many times, I’ve met buyers who have been searching online for months and now finally out looking in person. Only to discover that they need to find a home in very short time to make the move on their original schedule. Involve a real estate early in your search, so together you can decide how much time you can devote to looking online. That way you won’t be rushed when you finally get out doing actual showings. You’ll have a timeline that takes into mind your ideal possession date.
And when you find your dream home or condo, remember, you’ve looked through hundreds of homes online. You’ve already previewed so many before your first showing – you may just luck out and find your home your first time out on showings. With excellent photos and videos on homes these days, it’s common to be able to really narrow down your choices to only needing to see a couple homes in person to make the decision.
Create a plan and a timeline for your online home search. When you look at photos without rose colored glasses, you’ll quickly be able to weed out homes that could possibly be right for you. Happy (online) house hunting!