5 Websites that Help Homebuyers

June 7, 2013

homebuyersWith the power of technology getting faster and smaller, every industry has had significant changes. The real estate business is no exception. According to a recent survey completed by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and Google, real estate related searches on Google have grown 253% over the past four years.

These searches have helped potential homebuyers find real estate agents, research specific communities, take virtual tours of homes and learn about rates and other options as well. Purchasing a home is the largest investment most people make in their entire lives. It is worth spending a little time to utilize the resources that are available to educate yourself before you even walk out the door to go see your first open house. Here are some websites that will help guide you in your pursuit to purchase a home.

1. HUD U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development

This government website gives you the basics on everything from looking for loans to home inspections. It has resources for buyers to learn their rights in the process, video tutorials to help educate and a list of home-buying assistance programs that everybody should check before buying a home. Have any questions? You can call and speak to a Housing Counselor too (some charges may apply).

2. City-Data.com

If you want to learn about a specific area, this is the website to do it. They have taken data from multiple sources to give you everything including average household size, median household value, population statistics and unemployment. Maybe you are Lithuanian and want to see if there is a neighborhood with a large population of people from that country. This website can help you find that.

3. SchoolDigger.com

The quality of a school district or specific school will tell you a lot about the potential value of the properties in the area and whether you want to raise a family in a nearby neighborhood. According to the website, they have had over 26 million visitors and can provide information on over 120,000 schools in the U.S. You can compare performance, test scores, student/teacher ratios, and enrollment among other items.

4. Mortgage Loan.com

For a one-stop resource on mortgages, this website has it all. There are consumer guides and articles to teach you, financial calculators to figure out what you will need and rate maps and comparison tables for you to see what the landscape looks like. You can keep up to date with mortgage news and also read lender reviews. If you are looking for a first mortgage, a home equity loan or to refinance, this is a great place to start.

5. Realtor.com

You’ve done the research. You figured out which town, neighborhood and school you want to buy a house near. Now you need to find that house. Realtor.com can help you start that search on your own, but it can also help you to find a real estate professional that knows the area and the houses you want to see. You can search for a realtor using filters to help you find the most qualified. Their profiles will give you an introduction on what type of business they handle.

Don’t want to use a realtor just yet? You can search home listings (for rentals too) yourself. You can look at current home listings and foreclosures, as well as recently sold homes to get an idea of prices. You can filter by size, price, features, amenities and more. Find out what open houses are coming up and watch the videos to see the houses before you step out of the house.

As with any other investment, you can handle a lot of this research yourself. The use of a realtor, however, is very helpful if you do not know the area you are looking to buy in. They are local residents that know the area. They can give you insight that a website cannot. They can also help homebuyers sift through hundreds of house listings to pinpoint the ones that fit their wants and needs.

Regardless, this list can get you started on your pursuit to purchasing a home. Good luck and be sure to leave a comment about your quest for a new home!


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One Response to 5 Websites that Help Homebuyers

  • Greg Fischer

    Regarding #5 – real estate agents do much more than help pinpoint houses. This is one very minor part of the profession and a relatively easy part of the front end of house hunting given the potential buyer understands their financial ability to purchase a home and has effectively identified an area which works best for them.