House Searching: Online vs. In-Person

Posted by Trent Corbin on Monday, August 20th, 2018 at 9:12am.

A look at how you can maximize your Home Buying Search by using both online options and seeing them in-person.

When searching for a new home, you’ll likely want to use every resource available to find the perfect one. Whether you’re starting online searches for listings in your desired area, or scheduling in-person visits and open houses with your Realtor®, it’s important to know the advantages and disadvantages of both search styles and understand that today, the two compliment each other. 

Online house searching

Searching for listings online is a simple and convenient way to house hunt. Really, if you wanted to tour homes from the comfort of your own bed while still in your pajamas on a Sunday morning–you totally could! 

Many online house searching websites and apps allow you to filter by features including location, home type, size, year built, number of bedrooms, keyword, and more while also providing you with photos, pricing, listing agent contact information, even an estimated mortgage payment! 

This way, you can take a huge selection of houses and eliminate the ones that aren’t such a great fit, saving you time to focus on those homes that really are *right* for you!

While house hunting under your cozy and warm covers has its advantages, keep in mind that online listings will rarely show flaws or discuss the negative aspects of a property. Pictures may not be present or may be specifically styled to give a generous view of the home. Additionally, online options are not updated as frequently as tools your Realtor® may have, so homes may be already sold, off market or have other stipulations and limitations that may rule them out.

Between wide-angle lenses, HDR image processing, and strategic home staging, a photographer is able to highlight features the Seller wants to show, and avoid showing you things (like how a house smells) they don’t want you to experience.

Browse our online listings now!

In-person house searching

In-person house searching requires a little bit more effort than online-searching. (And by more effort, we don’t just mean getting out of bed and changing out of your pajamas.) Without a doubt, it can be more time-consuming, but worth it when you find your ideal home.  When we say time-consuming, it means you’ll have to be ready to set up an appointment with your Realtor® to tour a house(s), travel to the house(s), and then take time to tour. 

Luckily, there are ways to cut down on time while searching in-person to make in-person searching more efficient. As we mentioned previously, online searching to narrow down your selection ahead of time can be a huge help. Also, making sure you and your Realtor® are on the same page when it comes to your home-searching criteria is extremely helpful. If your Realtor® has a solid understanding of what you’re looking for in a home, they won’t take up time showing you homes that won’t be a good fit. 

Once you’ve found ways to make your in-person searching productive, you’ll be able to see, in-home searching has its advantages. 

Advantages include

  • We're sure you've done your research on the neighborhood, but now you can get a *live* look at both the house and the neighborhood.
  • Having the opportunity to check for any flaws (flaws that might have been left out of the pictures you saw online) yourself. Having a Realtor® with you will help identify these items that may be of concern.
  • Time to verify that everything that was pictured or stated about the house is actually correct as to avoid any surprises before writing a contract.
  • The chance to see yourself living in the house and being able to brainstorm how you’ll use each space or where your personal things will go–something you might not have been able to do with online photos.

There isn’t one completely right way to search for a house. In fact, most buyers today find a balance between the two options work best!  Online house searching has come a long way over the last few years. Most, if not all buyers use the web to kick off their search, but when things get serious, in-person searching is the way to go.

One of the biggest points we’d like to stress is the importance of getting your Realtor® involved and on the same page when it comes to your search to save you both time and money. 

That’s why we’ve created this Homebuyer’s Guide to the Top Questions Your Realtor Will Ask so that you can prepare well-thought-out responses to each before your first Realtor® meeting.   

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