Be a Smart Home Buyer - Using the Internet

Be a Smart Home Buyer - Using the Internet

The internet is one resource you should take advantage of by doing your own research. It is a great way to check the current mortgage rates, search for home prices, look to see which lender offers the best rates, apply for a loan, or find a real estate agent. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), during 2005 nearly 77% of all households used the Internet to conduct their housing search. These sites were primarily used to:

The internet is one resource you should take advantage of by doing your own research. It is a great way to check the current mortgage rates, search for home prices, look to see which lender offers the best rates, apply for a loan, or find a real estate agent.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), during 2005 nearly 77% of all households used the Internet to conduct their housing search. These sites were primarily used to:

1. Research home listings

2. Learn more about a specific area

3. Find out more about a real estate agent

4. Apply for a loan

It used to be, when a home was listed for sale by an agent it would appear in the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The sales agent would research the MLS to find a home that met your requirements (e.g., 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, swimming pool with a patio, etc.). Once found, you and your agent would look together at potential home sites.

Now, by using websites you can save time and money by doing your own investigative work online. Using their search criteria tools, you can specify an exact geographic area, the minimum and maximum amount you're able to pay, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms you require, and other requirements.

Once retrieved from a database of over 2 million homes, you can view a photograph of the property, the square footage, get a detailed description of the property features, and even take a virtual tour of the property inside and out -- all without actually stepping foot into the home.

You can also shop around for local rates to pick the best lender for you. Each lender details their fees so you can see exactly what they charge. During your lender selection, make sure the monthly payment quoted meets your budget. If not, discuss other options you are more comfortable with.

Using lenders online can save you time on the application process. Completing the application on your own gives you the flexibility to work at your own pace and access documents you might otherwise forget to bring when you meet with the loan officer. Since rates vary from state to state, make sure that the lender complies with Federal and State laws so that they are authorized to operate in your state.

Image: Image courtesy of nenetus at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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