Did you know that an estimated 80% of people do online research on a property before they contact an agent. I read that somewhere the other day, please don’t ask me for a reference, just trust me, mmmkay? You cannot rely on an agent to bring you the good deals; you need to be proactive and constantly searching. Unfortunately most people don’t know what to look for on their own, and can waste a lot of time.
Here are some tips for searching for property online:
- See the previous post on Finding Your Real Estate Niche. Do you have a clear idea of what type of property you are looking for? Do NOT get tempted to “just look” at good deals in other areas. I know it can be hard when you see something for a great price, but it’s in another town an hour away (not that we would ever do that!); but it’s just not worth it. Stick to the neighborhoods you know and like.
- Don’t always discount a property because of the pictures or lack thereof. Some of the best deals we have found have been because there were no pictures with the listing or the pictures were terrible and blurry. If it turns off most people, that is more opportunity for you!
- Look for particular key words or phrases in the listing:
-Time on Market is a year or more
-Needs Some Work*
*Watch out for these ones, as sometimes these places just need to be bulldozed.
- Get online often. Brad usually gets on to check properties every work day. It doesn’t take him long to do this, maybe 15-20 minutes a day. Good deals get listed and can go quickly, so it’s important to get on there often. Another benefit of this is that you will learn what is typically listed on the market and what a good deal is as you are being exposed to the real estate market every day.
- When you are first starting, view this as “practice”. Right now you are learning, and that’s ok. You need to get online and see what’s out there for a while to begin to notice patterns. Don’t get heartbroken because there is a deal that you were slightly interested in online, but then found out it sold for a great price. We live in a very small town, and there are more deals here than we can even take on. As I’ve heard it said, “The deal of the century comes once a week”. You may not believe it now, but I think it’s true.
WEBSITES WE USE
We like Zillow because it’s very user friendly and has a great map feature that shows you the location of the properties. With Zillow, you type in the zip code or city on the first page and then the second screen will show you the map with what’s on the market currently. From there, you zoom in on the map to the specific neighborhood that you like. Then you can click on a pin to get more information on the property. Zillow also has a great “bird’s eye view” that you can look at the houses surrounding the property you are interested in.
Our local homes and land website has an advanced search feature that we can include neighborhoods we like, plus things like condos, multi-family, and investment. So you can use these features to your advantage. Just keep in mind that sometimes properties are not always listed under the correct section.
I hope that these tips were helpful for you, and that you get online soon to start searching for some great deals in your area!