03

Dec
2012
Posted in:
For buyers

Cyber shopping tips for finding your dream home

RichmondAmerican.com on a tablet

There was a time when buyers doing a real estate search turned to the newspaper to find their next home. No longer. With sites such as NewHomeSource.com, Zillow.com and Trulia.com, cyber shopping is the new norm in real estate. When it’s your turn to “move on,” we hope you follow these quick tips for finding your dream home online:

Start with a broad search first.

Many real estate sites offer advanced search criteria options, but we recommend starting with the must-haves like price point, number of bedrooms and square footage. If you narrow down your search right away with rare criteria such as a pool, a lake view or a corner lot, you could be missing out a lot of great home choices.

Know your school district.

School district can be important for resale, so you’ll want to research the quality of the schools in your new neighborhood, even if you’re not a parent. To find school ratings, test scores and more, go to GreatSchools.org. Be sure to double check with the school district to make sure the address of the home is within the boundaries of your desired school. Many times, top real estate search sites list the closest schools on the map, not necessarily the ones children living the house would attend.

Search homebuilder websites.

When shopping for new construction, don’t rely solely on aggregate real estate websites to give you a full picture of the inventory. Homes in the early stages of construction and floor plans ready to be built may only be listed on the builder pages. Be sure to visit individual homebuilder websites. If you’ve narrowed down your search to an individual community, be sure to call the Sales Center. Sales associates will have the best idea of what’s truly available and will be able to give you the inside scoop on new homesites and specials.

Scope out new communities.

There are a couple ways to scope out new communities online, even before homes are listed. First, search by area on builder websites. Often, builders create pages for communities even before they open a sales center. Check for options to join an interest list so you are notified about any grand openings and special events at that community. The second way is do some driving around the area where you want to live. See a sign for a neighborhood you want to know more about? Get on your smart phone. Many builders offer mobile apps that help you learn more about a community even when you’re not at home!

Ready to start the house hunt? To search Richmond American’s latest floor plans and available homes for sale, click here.