When looking for properties the first step is to look where people are advertising them. When I first started in this industry the go-to place was the regional real estate monthly newsletters that held all the local listings. In these advertisements you could get a feel for what was selling and where. Since then a lot has changed.
It is easier to find bulk information thanks to the power of the internet. Websites work for both the sellers and buyers allowing the former easily get their listing in front of a large audience, and allowing the latter to browse tons of information from their phone. Below is a list of my favorite places to get information on property listings.
Zillow – This website sprung up a few years ago but has quickly become the biggest resource for property listings online. It was once just a startup but is now a full fledged website that provides thousands of users the ability to post and view listings. What makes Zillow great is its easy of use, even an older guy like me can make sense of the interface in a second. l
The website is laid out as a large window that shows a Google Earth view of city of interest. Users can see everything from street names to satellite images. Overlayed on top of this map are icons showing homes within the area the user is viewing. If the user pans or zooms in this area the list of icons updates automatically to show new listings in this area. Each icon is a graphic that shows the price range of the listing. Searches can be done for listings based on criteria like number of rooms, price, style, and more.
I like this website because it is the best for getting a broad overview of what properties in a given area are available and for how much. There is even software on the site that estimates how much a property should be worth based on its location and the price of surrounding properties. Users can then drill down into the details of each listing to get pictures, contact information, and more to help them in their search.
Trulia – This is another popular website that cultivates listings from multiple sources to give viewers a list of all the properties for sale in their area. The search can be refined by minimum and maximum price, number of bedrooms, and number of bathrooms. Listings give street addresses and have multiple pictures that give a good idea of how the properties look. Users can get in contact with the sellers real estate agents through simple buttons to send automatic emails.
Local Papers – Even though this method is a little dated I still can’t help myself checking out my weekly local newpaper to see what is on the market. Typically these advertisements are for more large scale homes, ones whose price can usually justify the marketing price of paying for one of these adds. Although if you are in the market for a smaller home sometimes the classified adds can produce some good information, or at least give you some leads on where to start. Ads like this can also tell times when open houses are available, giving you a chance to walk through the home and get the full run down from the sellers themselves.
Keeping Your Eyes Open – With all the online and print resources there is still the oldest resource in the book: a for sale sign in the yard. Next time you’re driving or walking through town make it a point to keep your eyes out for these signs, you’ll see a lot more of them when you’re really trying to.