Using a real estate agent for your home search

May 23, 2015

Searching Homes (Buying a Home, Step 2)

If you missed Buying A Home, Step 1- Preapproval, get caught up here.

Searching through homes for sale is easier than ever thanks to technology. There are countless apps, websites, and widgets to help you find your next home.

Websites such as Zillow, Realtor.com, Trulia, Move Inc, and so many more are available to assist the buyer in finding their next home. Most of these sites also have mobile apps for iOS, Android, and some even for Windows phones.

These sites and apps can help you find a great number of properties that fit your criteria. Some even go so far as to provide an estimate of the value of the home (Zestimates, anyone?), using public tax records and a simple multiplier to arrive at a “rough estimate” of the value.

There’s more to a home than a multiplier factor of its tax assessment.

Other important factors include:

  • Floor plan- does this fit our lifestyle?
  • School District Trends- are things improving in the area?
  • Proximity to groceries and other shopping- how good is that grocery store?
  • Usability of the deck and yard- is it well-designed?
  • Quality of finish and materials in the home- new doesn’t always mean ‘good quality’

These criteria are best measured by a fellow human being; someone who has walked countless others through this same process of buying a place to call home for the next-however-many-years.

You can also call a Realtor.

A top real estate agent in Kansas City (or anywhere, for that matter) can get you the most up-to-date information about homes that fit your dreams. Many websites don’t update their information often enough, because their business model depends on getting you to look through the properties they have listed. The MLS is updated every 15 minutes, and your agent can help you stay on top of movements such as pricing, contract status, and more.

When you’re ready to search for a home, by all means, harness the power of technology for its convenience. But when you’re serious about your real estate transaction, it will help tremendously to engage your fellow man; one whose experience in the local market can help you make the best decision for your family, one person helping another.

PRO TIP: While you’re looking at homes, save screenshots of furniture and decorating ideas in a folder on your computer, to Pinterest, or to Evernote or another digital file storage system. This way you can go back to those ideas you came across while home shopping and decorate your new home the way you want it.

And remember – do NOT use any credit during the home buying process. Mortgages are 15 to 30 years long; you don’t want to be stuck with a higher interest rate because of a few extra purchases with credit!

Thanks for reading!

Up next: Step 3 in buying a home: Looking at homes in person