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Use the internet and social media to help you find the perfect house

Use the internet and social media to help you find the perfect house

Finding the right home can be stressful, as buyers must consider many different options and be able to make a decision pretty quickly if they want to make an offer. Part of making a sound buying choice is to be armed with data, and today buyers have access to several sites, social media channels, and apps that will help them make the right home buying choice.


Do

Do use tools to look at your finances and the cost of homeownership

Many personal finance sites offer calculators you can use with titles such as “how much house can you afford”. While they aren’t meant to be set-in-stone rules (they don’t usually adjust for pricing in Southern California or NYC for instance) but they are useful in encouraging potential homeowners to look deeply at the costs associated with their purchase. Advanced calculators let you input likely utility bills, HOA fees, property taxes, and other costs so you can get the whole picture.

Do learn about an area by using social media

Social media sites such as Facebook have created a virtual “six degrees of separation” where people can link to others through shared connections. If you live in Phoenix and are thinking of heading to cooler weather in Duluth, then you can use your social network to ask if anyone has connections in Duluth. Hearing insights from actual residents can help you narrow down your neighborhood choice.

Do get the dimensions

If you are serious about a home and want to check the dimensions, then use the app MagicPlan to build a fast blueprint of the home. This great application uses pictures of a room to develop accurate floor plans. Buyers can use this data to confirm stated square footage numbers and also sketch out any remodeling plans.

Do watch the tweets

Agents are now selling and promoting homes through Twitter, a practice cleverly known as “Tweal Estate”. Hop onto Twitter and follow agents and other individuals that tag homes for sale in your area.

Do gather valuable data

Some sites such as Zillow provide prospective real estate buyers with a trove of information, including past recorded sales of a home and accurate estimations of current value. Its maps show recent sales so buyers can gauge the fairness of a listing to be sure they aren’t overbidding for a property.


Don't

Do not ignore the power of Facebook

Many agents will promote the sale of homes on a Facebook page in order to attract buyers. Even if one of the seller’s immediate friends isn’t interested, one of their “friends’ friends” might be, and Facebook is a great way to expand the agent’s reach. Savvy agents will post various pictures to accompany the home and be active on Facebook to capture any leads.

Do not forget to check out the home’s surrounding area

You find the perfect listing of a bright and airy home that is within budget and has room to grow. Don’t forget to check out the surrounding area to be sure your dream home won’t become a nightmare. Google Maps’ satellite view helps you to map out the entire area surrounding your home, so you can see the proximity of freeways or busy streets. If you live in suburbia, a bird’s eye view lets you see how close you are to other subdivisions, so you can perhaps pick a home in a more secluded corner for privacy and quiet.

Do not pick an agent blindly

When you choose a buyer’s agent, you want someone with tenacity and local knowledge. Many agents create several different social media profiles for their business. You should review these thoroughly so you can gauge how well the agent knows the area and to spot any client complaints.

Do not forget to check the schools

If you have school-age children, then of course you want to search for data on the area schools. GreatSchools.net and Education.com are two sites that allow buyers to review school-by-school data. Even if you don’t have kids, a good school system attracts families and often fosters a deeper community spirit.

Do not get hung up on the interior decorations or colors of the house

Some people can’t look past dreary drapes and faded taupe wall colors to see the potential of a home. Think of the home as a blank canvas and get inspired design ideas with Houzz, an exciting design site and application that gives you thousands of options to design every room in the house.


Summary
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For the majority of buyers, a home represents their biggest lifetime purchase, so they should use every tool at their disposal to ensure they are getting the very best home at the optimal price. Consumers increasingly rely on social media and internet tools to guide them on everyday activities, and real estate transactions should be no different. The buyer that arms themselves with the most relevant information can often make the most informed decisions when it comes to purchasing the home of their dreams.


More expert advice about Buying Real Estate

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Vikram RaghavanCEO + Co-Founder

Vikram Raghavan is the CEO and co-founder of GrayRoost. He is an experienced e-commerce and marketing veteran, and has worked at CafePress.com, Overstock.com, Amazon, Capital One, and Lealta Media. Vik oversaw marketing, new product innovation, ...

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