House Hunting Tips: How to Safely Search for a House Online


If you’re among the 32 percent of homeowners who first learned of your house online, you’re not alone. More and more, house hunters are starting their search for a home online, but if you’re among them, there are certainly things you should be aware of when searching for a home online.

First, don’t assume that just because you have the Internet at your fingertips, you’re suddenly a realtor. Often, websites aren’t comprehensive of all the listings in the area. Or, they aren’t updated with the latest listings, and in a competitive market where houses sell in days, you could be missing out on your dream home.

Next, don’t ignore For Sale By Owner listings. Current numbers indicate that 20 to 25 percent of home listings are independent listings. Again, you could be missing out on your dream home if you search only on realtors’ websites. Expand your search and see if there’s a For Sale By Owner website in your search area.

That being said, be careful and avoid any fake listings. You may come across these on Craigslist or other third party sights. As with anything being sold on the Internet, if it looks too good to be true, it probably is. The indicators? The owners are desperate to cut a deal, or the listing doesn’t include any photos (or just one).

Even if a listing is legitimate, don’t trust that everything on its listing is accurate. Sites like can be great at seeing a number of homes for sale at once, but the valuation they put on homes is more of an estimate. Instead, use those home valuations as a starting point for negotiating.

The Internet has really transformed the real estate market for house hunters, but it certainly doesn’t replace realtors; instead, it gives house hunters the chance to see what’s out there and what they can afford. Use these tips wisely, and you’ll be able to assist your realtor with finding your dream home in no time.

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