An online home search is the starting point for finding great property listings today more than ever. The process is simple: define the features you want, enter them into an online system that serves the area you want to search, then review the results. Your REALTOR® can help you get started by providing current market information and even setting up the search for you.
Here are three simple tips to make your online home search more productive.
1. Search “Must Have” Features
Most search systems offer dozens of features to choose from when setting search parameters, including number of bedrooms, square footage, location and much more. Buyers should avoid the temptation to set a value for every feature. Setting too many features could exclude properties from search results that meet 90% of a buyer’s needs just because one or two parameters are not met. Sometimes missing features can be added later within the buyer’s budget.
A good way to select which parameters to set for an online home search is to classify every feature parameter that applies as Must Have, Like To Have or Must Not Have. Entering only Must Have features in search parameters provides a manageable volume of search results without excluding properties that don’t match all a buyer’s needs but may deserve a closer look.
2. Expand Your Limits
It’s easy to set minimum limits on search parameters, such as the number of bedrooms you’ll need, lot size, etc. But what about maximums? Some home buyers miss out on discovering good properties by setting maximum search limits too low. If a home is within your price range, would you reject it for having one more bedroom than you think you might need? Set search parameters for rooms, square footage, etc. slightly higher than your needs unless you have a firm reason not to.
Consider expanding your maximum price limit, too. Depending on market conditions, you may be able to negotiate a home with a listing price set above your limit down to a purchase price below your limit. Try adding ten percent to your upper limit and see how many additional properties show up in search results.
3. Automate Search Notifications
Once your search is set up, have the system send text or email notifications automatically as new listings come on the market. Almost all systems provide this feature. If the option is offered, have new listings sent immediately, not in a batch once each day.
Conducting an online home search is an art, so don’t hesitate to adjust search parameters as market conditions or your needs change. Questions? Please use Contact Us in the right column.