Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Best Way To Use The Internet For Finding A Home

Recently we stumbled across something, an old listing book, that really made us realize how far we've come in the home buying business. For those of you who never experienced the home buying process pre 1995, you might be startled to hear about the way it used to be done.

A Little History

Every week the real estate brokers local association would publish and distribute a new set of paper sheets containing all the new home listings in a particular area. The various real estate offices would gather these new listings and add them to the office listing book. If you were to look at these sheets according to todays standards, they would be considered very crude. No pictures, very little description, and very little detail.

To make things even tougher, every time anybody wanted to investigate a property they had flip tediously through the big book and hope they didn't miss it. Then they had to hope it was still available for sale and that the book they were using was accurate. Even if you had an idea of what you wanted, there was no way to narrow the search down to a handful of likely prospects. The only search feature was a pair of eyeballs, fingertips, a sharp memory, a plethora of local knowledge, and a healthy dosage of patience.

While we do see some advantages to these older ways of doing business (local knowledge, inventory familiarity, etc) we are in no way hoping for the return of the "good old days." Todays Southern California home buyers have so many advantages in their search for real estate that it'd be foolish not to take advantage of the various tools at their disposal. With this in mind, here's the best way for todays home shoppers to research, find, and ultimately buy real estate with the help of the internet.

Researching The Area You Want

We've said it before that real estate really is a "boots on the ground" type of business and when searching out an area to live, there really is no substitute for actually visiting the area. However, we think it is better to have some idea of areas you might like before driving aimlessly around the County. Orange County home buyers will be suprised how much information they can gather about a city, county, school district, or neighborhood from our local area
home buyer guides and we encourage them to use them, possibly even before looking at a single home for sale. Some prime examples of this would be our Anaheim California real estate and Yorba Linda California real estate guides.

Researching The Homes For Sale In The Area You Want

Recall for a second the above example about the old crusty listing book which agents and buyer had to flip through just to get an idea of prices in a specific area. Now visualize a new modern listing book that is instantly searchable, provides multiple full color property photos, contains 99% of all homes for sale in a particular area, can issue email alerts, uses interactive property maps, and contains more property info than you could ever need. Now you'll have an idea of the benefits available within our
home finder map search. This and some of the internets more helpful home hunting tools can also be found at local sites like Brea CA homes for sale and Fullerton CA homes for sale, which specifically deal with property listed in the local market.

Upgrading To Premium Service With The Help Of A Professional

So you've done a little homework and found a few different areas that you would consider calling home. You've got an idea of what homes in these areas are selling for and are reasonably sure of what type of home will fit into your budget. Now is the time to enlist the help of a real estate professional in custom tailoring you a home search around your specific needs. Not only will you be notified by email when new homes come to market but you'll also be alerted to any homes that drop in price and are now down around your comfort level. The kicker is that all of this information will be available within your email inbox so that you may access it at your convenience!

Some home buyers are ready to just dive right in and tell us agents all about what they are looking for and our
premium home finder service will let them do this. By telling us what they are looking for, there is an added bonus because we personally review hundreds of properties a week and can quickly contact them when a hot deal comes to market. Still, some are not ready to "open up" about who they are or what they are looking for and we completely respect this. We'd just like all to know how having a true real estate professional can be an unfair advantage over their fellow home shoppers.

How Lucky We Are

Anytime we become frustrated with slow downloads, spotty internet connections, annoying pop ups, or internet spam, we really should count our blessings and realize just how much better the internet has made shopping for a home. The last ten years have brought us leaps and bounds forward in the real estate business and its exciting to think just what is in store for the next ten years. Until then, happy hunting.

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