Set Your Budget for Your Online Home Search
If you haven’t figured out your budget, you won’t be able to take action when you tour the perfect home and want to make an offer. Figure out how much money you have for a down payment and get pre-approved for a mortgage. Factor in other expenses you’ll face as a homeowner, like taxes, insurance, utilities, furniture, tools, and maintenance.
Once you know your maximum budget, set the upper limit you are comfortable with on the websites you are using for your home search. You may also want to set a lower limit to filter out homes that might not meet your needs or require too much work.
Define the Area
Location is an important factor when it comes to choosing a new home. There may be key areas that you want to be close to, like your workplace, your child’s school, or a family member’s home. Also, some neighborhoods are more desirable than others because the properties will gain value over time.
One trick to finding a good investment is to look at the values of the homes around the one you are interested in. If all of the other homes in the neighborhood cost less, this may mean that the home is overpriced. A good rule of thumb is to not buy the most expensive house in the neighborhood.
You can hone down the area you are searching on websites like Zillow by entering in zip codes, counties, cities, and even drawing a custom border with a pen tool.
Choose the Types of Homes You are Interested in
When searching online for homes within your budget, omit vacant land from the search results. If you want a single-family home instead of a condo or townhouse, eliminate these types of properties by unchecking them in the search. This way you won’t be disappointed when you click on an affordable property in a good location only to see that it is an empty lot or a condo.
Specify the Number of Bedrooms and Bathrooms
One thing that may be non-negotiable for you in a home is the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. You may not want a home with only one bathroom or you may need a certain amount of bedrooms for everyone in your family. Luckily, real estate websites make it easy for you to specify the minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms you are looking for.
Other Filters for Your Online Home Search
You can also filter for other features you want like a swimming pool, basement, a certain type of view, and more. If you feel strongly about certain features, specify them in your search.