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How to Find a Home Online

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If you plan on moving, you're going to need to find a new home to move into. This process isn't the same as it was 20 years ago. Most of the information and listings for new homes are now online. It is important to remember that the internet is a dangerous place and not everything that you see online is real. How can you find the right information online? What should you do to find a home on the internet?

Start your search

A reliable search website is a good place to start your search for a home online. It is important to remember, however, that even though a website may be trustworthy, it doesn't mean that all of the sellers on it are.

You should start with a well known website like Homefinder to begin and potentially end your search. There is a wealth of information on that website and a search option that should narrow down your selections to homes in your area and price range. 

Once you choose a home to view, you are faced with even more information. Assuming it is accurate (there is never a guarantee on the internet,) you should learn everything you can about the property. If the seller or broker did not list a whole lot of information, especially on a site like Homefinder, then it needs to be considered a red flag.

Here is some information a home should have posted online:
  • Asking price
  • Acreage
  • Age
  • Garage type
  • Basement type
  • Heat/ac type
  • Postal code
  • Square footage
  • Lot dimensions
  • Exterior material
  • Taxes
  • Number of beds/baths
  • Any other defining aspects of the house
There should also be a large amount of pictures of the house posted online. Usually you can even go on a virtual tour of the house to get a more accurate feeling of how it would look and feel to be there.

If the seller or broker did not include all of this information on the home's online profile, then it is likely that he is hiding something. Not all of this information directly helps you determine if the home is worth moving in to, but having all of the information present is a good sign that the sellers are more legitimate.

If everything checks out, you can use these types of websites to contact the seller/broker directly. If you e-mail or call the seller/broker remember to ask any questions that the online home profile didn't answer. You also need to gauge whether or not the seller is legitimate and if the home actually exists.

If the homes looks good and the listed price is relatively close to what you'd like to offer, then your online search for a home may be complete.

Other places to look online

Not everyone is going to have their target home conveniently listed on a home-finding website. Sometimes your move is more local or your desired home is more specifics than the big websites have available.

Online newspapers: Many people still list their homes in newspapers. Due to the internet's ever-growing popularity, most newspapers have an online component which usually includes their real estate listings. This can be a great place to find a more local home for sale. 

Online auctions: This is sometimes a risky proposition, but some foreclosures and other home sales are done through an auction. This can be done online, but it is important to research the names of everyone involved. Be sure the addresses are provided and real. Look for a licensed agent to be involved in the sale, and make sure you don't get suckered into paying more than you want to for a property due to the temptation of the auction format. You should always have a backup plan before going into an auction. "Needing" to buy something at auction is a good way to pay way more than you want to.

Direct communication with a seller: In some forums or websites like Craigslist, you can simply talk to people online and may come into contact with a seller. This is very risky because nobody has any responsibility to actually be who they say they are. If you find a deal that seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don't meet anyone in person, no matter what they're selling, without ample amounts of information about the home, location, and any other details that will help you determine if the sale and home are legitimate.

No matter which route you go, you can find a wealth of information on new homes on the internet. If you find legitimate information in your location and price range, then the online search is over. Once you know exactly where you are moving, you can continue the process and find some movers to hire.

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on July 14, 2014 - Moving Expert
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