Buying Online

important considerations
FOR buying houses online

Research the Agent Listing the House.

It’s important to take a look at the real estate agent listing the home because they could be a newer agent. It’s a good idea to check references if possible, but find out how the sellers found their real estate agent. Take note of online reviews, particularly how many they have more so than negative reviews since those should be taken with a grain of salt. Find out what other houses they have listed because their experience in a certain price range of homes will make a difference if the home you’re looking at is outside of their typical range.


Walk scores get a lot of attention these days as people want to be able to walk to retail spaces and other spaces near their home so be sure to check those numbers out at Walk Score. Most online real estate sites already post school ratings for nearby schools and schools do matter when you’re buying a house whether you’ve got children or don’t.

Use a Website That Features Houses from the MLS.

What’s the MLS? It’s the multiple listing service that shows available houses. Websites that use the MLS will have the most up-to-date information on houses and will be the most reliable. Other websites may have expired or sold listings just to get you to call them.

Note How Long the Home Has Been on the Market.

A house that’s been on the market for a long time tends to turn home buyers away because they begin to wonder what’s wrong with the house. But you should note the location of the home. A home in a smaller town could stay on the market longer than one in a more populated area.

Take a Look at Price Changes With the House.

Online real estate sites Zillow, Trulia and are great because they use information from the MLS, but, PLEASE NOTE, that information is NOT ALWAYS accurate and up-to-date. Often those websites will have stale or misleading information to get you to call the Realtor that pays the website for advertising.  The agent shown pays them to be in that spot, it’s not the actual listing agent.. These sites are good to show a change in the price of a home and even provide a history of the house’s price. It’s great for a 2 am, in your bathrobe and can’t sleep peruse. 

Take a Look at the Foreclosures in the Area.

Recent foreclosures can have an effect on the price of a home that you’re looking at since appraisers look at comparable properties. Keep an eye on those homes in the area that are for sale and if they go into foreclosure because if you buy the house before the others go into foreclosure you could end up paying more for your house.

Online Viewing is a Great Tool
But a Real Estate Agent is Still Great.

Real estate agents should help you understand market conditions and the area you’re looking at buying into. Real estate agents can help later on with negotiating price and fixes that crop up after a home inspection.

Check Out the Expected Property Taxes and other expenses.

You’ll have to factor in the property taxes into your house payment, along with any Mello-Roos special assessments that will raise your taxes. Is the property in a flood zone or a fire prone area that will increase your insurance rates? There may also be multiple homeowners’ associations and you will need to factor those costs into the affordability of the house

Look at Neighboring Homes and What They’ve Sold At.

Look for home sales in the past three months for recently sold comparable properties in the area. Appraisers only look at comparable homes sold in the last three months. You can get a better idea of what the price of a home should be.

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