When making an important purchase, you can protect your best interests by doing plenty of research in regards to the item or items you are looking to buy. It’s called being a prudent consumer. When it comes to buying a home, the importance of doing research is increased tenfold. This is because of the magnitude of the investment you will be making, which figures to have a profound effect on your life now and well into the future.
Tapping Into Resources
Purchasing a home is a complicated process. It demands you take great care and be patient enough to avoid making serious financial mistakes. Because of the complicated nature of the process, you will most likely want to enlist the services of a licensed real estate agent with a vast knowledge of the area or areas you have under consideration. The agent will be one of your most important resources. Another way to gather information is through family and friends that have already been through the process a time or two. They could be very helpful by providing you with some insight about what to look for and avoid from a buyer’s prospective.
Both of these options are great human resources. However, this is the 21st century and there is this amazing research tool called the Internet. The Internet is filled with information about most anything on the planet. If you have a question and can’t find the answer online, the question is invalid or the answer does not exist. The good news for prospective home-buyers is the Internet is filled with websites that are loaded with tools and information that can help you with the home buying process. If used in combination with a good real estate agent, the chances of you locating the perfect home at exactly the right price are greatly enhanced.
Home Buying Tools on the Internet
Over the last 10-15 years, a number of reputable websites that focus solely on residential real estate information and stats have been introduced for the benefit of both home-buyers and sellers. As research tools, they can be used to give you a strong sense of what to expect and look for when you start the home searching process in earnest. By educating yourself about the process, you will find it easier to work as a team with your agent to get the best possible deal. A few of the top online real estate sites include www.zillow.com, www.trulia.com, www.realtor.com and www.redfin.com.
Mounds of Available Information
As a potential home-buyer, you are expected to have a general idea about things like your price range, the desired home size, acceptable locations and the neighborhood amenities you would like to find in close proximity to where you are living. Most of the reputable real estate sites can provide you with these very basic details. The more functional sites will provide you with the ability to sort information, do square footage and pricing calculations and do comparative analysis between properties and neighborhoods. These are wonderful tools that often prove to be very useful.
With that said, the better sites will also provide value-added tips and suggestions that can save you a lot of money and keep you from missing things that might lead to potential problems down the road. Here’s a great example related to how a particular value-added feature can assist you with the home buying process.
Listing History – Under listing history, you can find out when a home was originally listed and whether or not price decreases have been made. This kind of information could be used to help you determine the seller’s sense of urgency, which might translate into significant savings if you can find the right price-point that motivates the seller to sell to you.
Other information found on these sites includes information about mortgage companies and the lending process, identifying reputable real estate agents in a particular area, home design tips and a complete explanation of the fees you might encounter upon closing. If you want to truly optimize the value you derive from buying a home, you owe it to yourself to use these wonderful resources as educational tools that will help you find the right home while protecting your best interests.