Internet access makes searching for a new home easier than ever before. There’s no need to sift through newspaper real estate sections when you can perform your own custom search online— or even take your home search on the road with mobile apps. While real estate websites each have their own particular tools, they are all designed to help you quickly find your ideal home.
Multiple listing service (MLS)
Multiple listing services are a type of tool that has been used by real estate brokers since the late 1800s to share information about properties that are for sale. There are many different local MLSs across the country and you will commonly see homes online which have been assigned their own MLS number for easy reference. Real estate professionals who are members have full access to MLSs, but most of the information is shared publicly online for free either through agents’ own websites or through MLS.com (Private information, such as seller contact information, is only available to real estate agents).
National home search sites
A number of websites have been created to make it easier for buyers to search for available homes by location, MLS number, price or other criteria. These sites often provide other tools and services as well, such as loan calculators, neighborhood statistics and advice columns or forums. Though there are numerous home search sites available, a few stand out in terms of available resources, listings and social forums.
Zillow - Quickly growing in popularity, Zillow is a site which uses a combination of public records and real estate listings to help buyers find homes and sellers estimate their homes’ worth. Map- based search tools include numerous filters for finding homes that are for sale, for rent or recently sold. Zestimates, Zillow’s market value estimates, are based on available information and do not replace professional appraisals or your real estate agent’s market analysis. Zillow has a variety of mortgage tools and advice forums, as well as mobile apps for many different smartphones and tablets.
Trulia - With a wide range of tools, Trulia assists homebuyers across the country. Trulia’s main search lets visitors find homes that are for sale, for rent or recently sold with the results displayed in a list or on a map. You can set up alerts to be notified about price changes, open houses and other items, and there is also
a mobile app. The site uses public records to provide its own estimated home values, but it stands out for its social aspects. Forums, Q&A’s and agent directories make it easy for users to share information, find advice from experts or connect with local real estate professionals.
Realtor.com - As the official site for the National Association
of Realtors, Realtor.com provides home listings as well as educational resources and tools for homebuyers and sellers. In addition to listing homes for sale or for rent, Realtor.com also has companion sites for international homes and commercial real estate. The site is also branching out with information on local moving services, as well as Home and Garden tips.
Local real estate agents
Most of today’s real estate agents have their own websites to showcase the homes they are listing. While these homes cantypically be found through most national home search sites (MLS.com, Zillow, Trulia, etc.), going to the source sometimes shows extra information, such as more detailed home descriptions or additional pictures. It also lets you contact the seller’s agent with questions or to schedule a tour. The listing agent’s website is typically included in the information about a home on national home search sites. When you see a home for sale locally, the listing agent’s contact information is usually displayed right on the sale sign as well.
New construction homes
National home search sites are great for finding resale homes
or estimating the market value of a particular area, but they may not be the best place to find out about new construction homes. Home buyers who are interested in new construction can search the websites of particular builders or use sites designed specifically for new homes.
Move New Homes - As the official new home website for the National Association of Home Builders, Move New Homes helps homebuyers find new developments being constructed around the country. It features information on special incentives, hot deals and quick move-in homes. If you want to build a home on your own land, the site can also help you find custom builders in your area through the “Build on Your Lot” search feature.
NewHomeGuide.com - Formerly known as NewHomeOnline. com, NewHomeGuide.com helps homebuyers find out about new construction homes and developing communities. You can search by location or browse by home builders. The site also provides tips and information on the home building process and how to choose a home builder.
The National Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS)
Internet access makes it easy to find the home you want to buy, and it can also make it easier to find a reputable mortgage company. NMLS consumer access lets homebuyers verify that mortgage companies or individuals are properly licensed to operate in their area.
Once you find the home of your dreams, let the professionals at Embrace Home Loans help you secure the financing you need to make it your own.