The change to doing your tasks online was inevitable. Not only can you bank, do your taxes and read books and magazines online, you can also search for a home. Gone are the days of your real estate professional having the only knowledge of new homes on the market and relying on newspaper and magazine ads to lure you to new listings. These days, many buyers are more informed, mainly because there is so much information online, with complete listings giving you enough info that you don’t even need to walk through the home if you don’t want to.
Of course, it is always best to use a real estate professional for helping you to buy a home, as their expertise will lead you in the right direction. But, if you know what you want and where you want, finding that online is simple and can give your real estate professional the information they need to find you “the one”.
Where to look?
Realtor.ca is a great place to start as you can see all of the homes for sale that are listed through this service. Most people will list their homes here, even the ones selling privately, with a link to their private website. You’ll get a great idea of what is for sale in each neighbourhood and you can easily compare prices from neighbourhood to neighbourhood. Note that it does take a few days for a home to be listed here, and your real estate agent will have the updated information before it becomes available to the public.
Why look online?
Many might question why they should look online if they don’t have the most up-to-date information. Researching homes online will give you a better idea of what sort of homes are selling in your price range. Many homes will list not just on Realtor.ca, but also on their agent’s site and some even have their own website. These often come complete with photos, videos, measurements and aerial shots. You’ll also see a description of what updates the home has had and sometimes even get schooling and neighbourhood information. You can then drive by the home and see what you think about the exterior and its surroundings, or even better, go on Google Maps and take a look at the home on street view.
What else can I find online?
If you aren’t familiar with the neighbourhood or city where you want to buy the home, doing your research is an important step before buying the home. Find out what each city offers by visiting their city or town government website. School rankings are available online at the Fraser Institute, after you’ve gone to the relevant school board’s website to find out where your kids will go to school based on boundaries.
These days, finding a home you love in a neighbourhood you covet is simple with a little online research. Let me know if you need any help.