The days of having to be there in person to conduct business are far behind us.Virtual meetings with hundreds of participants, logging in to work from your living room, calling a cab or getting food from local eateries delivered to your doorstep, the explosion of internet shopping – that’s the world we now live in.
Almost everything that previously required our physical presence now has an online alternative.
This stands true for property hunting and purchases as well. People are looking for properties and finalising their purchases without ever visiting the site physically. House tours and meetings with real-estate agents have been replaced by virtual tours, zoom auctions and real-estate websites.
Considering the huge number of real-estate websites on the internet, however, first time buyers might not know where to begin their online house hunting.
It’s natural to feel confused about where to start your online property search and which sites to trust. Here, we provide five tips that will make searching for a property online easier for beginners.
1. How To Find The Right House On Property Search Sites
Property sites have a diverse range of information about the houses available. You can search for the one you want based on your unique needs. Set search parameters such as the minimum and maximum price you can afford, whether you want to buy or rent, the number of bedrooms you are looking for, whether you want a new or an old house, or the locations you prefer.
Once you set your parameters on a site, register that search. The website will notify you when a house matching your requirements is listed there. If you are not getting enough responses, register your search on more sites. If you are being overwhelmed with matches, delete the search from some sites.
For easier search results, you can also download property search apps from your Google or Apple playstores. These apps have better user interfaces and have various types of information related to properties on sale. Some popular apps are realestate.com.au, Domain, Soho and rent.com.au.
2. How Do We Know Which Sites We Can Trust?
The information different sites have about the same house may vary. Make sure the site you use has the latest information about the properties. Check for the date of the last site update and use the site only if the data is recent. Some sites might have information that is as much as a few years old; beware of relying on such data.
Also, look at whether the information is comprehensive. The listings on the site should include the price, the size of the property, the number of rooms, any required repairs, as well as the latest pictures of the property.
3. Are Property Listings The Only Information We Can Find Online?
To make a final decision, you need information about more than just the property itself. The factors that help make a property your dream house include the convenience of the location, your neighbours, facilities in the neighbourhood and any upcoming development projects.
The Internet can help you find a plethora of information with websites that are specifically made for evaluating neighbourhoods: walkability scores, traffic and weather information, school ratings and more.
Beyond that, innovative technology now allows people to make 3D virtual tours, complete with images of furniture, to experience the look and feel of their potential homes. Use these to your advantage to find the property that fits you best.
4. Are There Other Kinds Of Sites We Can Use To Search For A Property Online?
There are various types of websites you can use to search for a property online. While property search sites are the most common, you can also gather information from builders’ sites, real-estate forums, online review sites, social-media sites and online advertisements.
Builders’ websites and their online reviews can help you gain an idea about new and upcoming projects, which might match your description of a dream house. Social-media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Reddit have forums where users answer queries and even provide inside information about new property listings, locations and neighbourhoods. Online advertisements on search engines and sites , mainly pop-up ads, can also lead to houses listed on the market.
5. Will An Online Search Be Enough To Find The House We Want?
Use online property search sites and apps as an initial research tool, then use a local real-estate agent for specific information once you find a few properties you might want to purchase. Real-estate agents have extensive knowledge of the properties they deal with and will show you the ones that meet your specific needs.
The online property search will help you broaden your perspective about the current market situation and the property types that might interest you. As online searches can be done at your own convenience, invest some time in learning about the houses that you want online before contacting a real-estate agent.
The agent will know the specifications of properties and will be able to guide you in your homebuying process. In fact, you can also find agents online to make your work easier and faster.
Speak To a Mortgage Broker
Once you’ve done all your research, online and off, and zeroed in on your dream home, make sure you do not lose the chance to purchase it.
Speak to our mortgage brokers at Home Loan Experts by filling out this free enquiry form or calling us on 1300 889 743. Our experts will help you secure a mortgage or a pre-approval from the most suitable lenders at the best rates for your circumstances.