How to (Really) Use the Internet to Make Finding Your Next Home Easy

Admit it. You’ve gone on the internet with the best of intentions, and instead lost an hour going down rabbit holes when you should have been productive. (Guilty over here!)

Unfortunately, we can’t make you stop looking at pictures of your ex on vacation, but we can use the internet’s superpowers for good instead of evil. How? We can show you how to use it to find your dream home. After all, the web is overflowing with information, but it can also overwhelming and confusing and filled with scams. When it comes to real estate, how can you make sure the web is helping, not hurting, your search for a home?

The first rule of thumb is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Real estate scams abound, so you want to be sure that you’re using a reputable home-finding service if you decide to go that route. If you’re searching on your own, never give anyone a deposit before you see a property, so they can “hold this great deal for you.”  That person will disappear, along with your deposit. Internet listings are particularly notorious for this type of scam, so while these listings can be a great tool, realize that you’re on your own out there. Arm yourself with as much information as you can.

Okay, so now you know what not to do.  How can the internet become your new BFF? Here are a few tips:

  1. Start with a clear picture of what you want. If someone handed you a real estate-specific magic wand, what would you wish for? List out all the features you dream of, including the absolutely necessary and the “nice to have.”

One way to do this is to think about your lifestyle. Do you throw dinner parties? Then you’ll want a very functional kitchen. Need to unwind in a bath? Then a shower stall-only bathroom is not for you. Is your dog the most important thing in your life? You’ll want a pet-friendly set-up with a landlord or management company that’s used to dogs.

And hey, if you’re a creative type, then make a vision board instead of a list. We’re not here to judge—just to help.

  • Narrow down your neighborhoods. Where do you want to live? This can be especially hard when you’re new to a city, because the possibilities seem overwhelming. One helpful way to start is to think about your commute. Instead of distance, think about how many minutes you’d like your average commute to be. In urban areas, distances can be deceiving; your work may seem close, but at rush hour, the timing could be totally different. That should give you an initial radius to work with.

Next, think about what you want from your neighborhood—the sights, tastes, and sounds (or lack of) you’re looking for. Do you want to be able to walk outside and find something fun to do or are you the type who prefers downtime with Netflix and some good takeout? Whether you’re a homebody or the life of the party, our neighborhood guides can help point you in the right direction.

  • Define the type of home you’d like. Are you looking for a luxurious high-rise with all the latest amenities and lots of neighbors? Or would you prefer a single-family home with a yard all to yourself? Maybe something in-between sounds most appealing. If you’re not sure, you can browse the web to see what’s out there, and discover what seems most appealing to you. Sometimes, you’ll find the possibility that seemed out of reach financially might actually be within your grasp, after all.
  • Create your tour list. Now that you’ve done all your research, you get to compile all the places you’d like to see in one neat and tidy list. We admit to being a little biased, but we think the RadPad app is especially handy at this point. It allows you to put all your listings in one handy app right on your phone.

Now you’re educated about your options and ready to tour! We’ve got our fingers crossed for you.

Our bonus tip: don’t forget the power of offline help.  At RadPad, we believe in building a community, and we’re always happy to answer questions and offer advice. Drop us a line or give us a call if you want to chat about anything.