If you’re new to the house-buying game, you might not know where to start. Should you call a realtor? Ask friends if they’re selling? Drive around town and look at for-sale signs? The smartest buyers will use all the tools that are available to them. Here are three strategies to consider before you start your search:
1. Look for Off-Market Properties
When you buy off market property, you’re essentially finding a house or condo that’s not listed for sale and making an offer to the owner. Sometimes realtors, especially those in-the-know, can be great resources for finding properties that are not currently listed – but the owners are thinking of selling. You just have to know who to ask.
2. Online Databases Like Zillow and Trulia
Zillow, Trulia, Realtor.com, and Redfin can be great resources for the new homebuyer. These houses pull from the multiple listing service realtors search on a daily basis. If you’re not working with a realtor, or if you want to get a head start, check out these databases and compile a list of several to give to your realtor.
3. The Multiple Listing Service
The MLS consists of homes and properties for sale that are listed by licensed real estate agents. Did you ever wonder how realtors find listings? Or maybe how realtors can mysteriously gain access to all homes for showings? They’re usually getting their information from the MLS, which is a giant database of all houses put up for sale by realtors.
Your best bet, especially now that we’re dealing with a pandemic, is to get in touch with a realtor to find out what your best options are for looking at properties. Also, keep up with your own search! The more information you gather beforehand, the more likely you are to find a property you’ll love.