The Internet and Home Buying
There's no doubt about it, the internet is now an intrinsic part in the process of buying and selling homes. The majority of people looking to buy a home search the web for homes for sale in their desired area. Savvy buyers and sellers can compare stock from the comfort of their homes at any time of day or night. But when it comes time to actually buy, there's more to it than just clicking send. For starters, make sure what you are searching through is worth while. You may enjoy searching through lists of fancy homes, but if you are spending a lot of time daydreaming about houses you can't afford, it is a waste of time.
That is fine if what you are after is to kill time, but if you want to find a home, look within your price range. This brings me to another point: getting pre-approved for a mortgage. It truly is the first step to home buying. It tells you exactly what you can afford, thereby giving you a price range to look within. It also tells sellers you are serious, and prevents losing a home you are interested in, while the sellers accept an offer from someone who's more prepared.
And while you can find homes for sale, and even lots of great buying and selling tips on the internet, nothing beats the knowledge and expertise of a certified real estate agent—a real, live person. There is a lot of legal-talk and small-print involved in real estate sales documents. Do yourself a huge favor and always have a professional, either a real estate lawyer, a Realtor®, or a mortgage broker, have a look over the paperwork of your real estate transaction. Don't rely on the other parties professionals. After all, they work for the other party. You want an experienced professional who is working for you to verify that the contract is fair and legitimate. Even if you don't hire them for their full services, most real estate agents will help you with parts of a transaction for a small fee. Another thing internet listings are great for is comparative shopping. You might see a great home, but aren't sure if the price is realistic. A few clicks can show you what other homes in the area are selling for, and also what other types of homes are available in the same price range.
If you are searching around on the internet for great listings, look for an agent that is also web savvy. Some agents have very clear, user-friendly, readable, and informative web sites. Then there are those web sites that are just factory filler. You can tell by reading the text if they are trying to appeal to you, or just manipulating search engines to get into the top ten list. If a site doesn't have a person behind it, one with a bio about themselves, and clear listings of what homes they have for sale, then it isn't worth your time. The key is, no matter what you find on the web, your real estate transaction will happen in real life. So it's best to use the internet as one of many tools in your search for the perfect home.