Finding the right home can be quite an adventure, but you have more tools at your disposal than ever before thanks to technology. Here are nine tips from our friends at Trulia to help you take advantage of some new technology to make your home search easier.
#1: Feedback from Facebook Friends.
Find a listing you like on Trulia? From the property detail page, click the Facebook icon and share it with your digital peeps. Add a comment and ask them for their input on the house or the ‘hood. This is especially handy if you’re relocating and others in your social network have insider info to share.
#2: Vids and Pics
Don’t just rely on the listing photos. When you visit properties, document what you see with your own two eyes by taking your own digital pictures. It’ll help you keep track of whether the blue Craftsman was the place with the sweet redwood deck or the organic kitchen garden.
Moving out of town? Couples, families and those partnering to buy together can save loads of time and money flying back and forth by having the pickier partner do the first pass house hunt solo. Have him or her record walk-throughs with a Flipcam or even a cell phone video camera so the one who stays at home can view the video. For real contenders, make sure to film the street and nearby neighborhood hot spots, too.
#3: Find Properties and Professionals
I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that you can find more homes than ever – both for sale and for rent — at Trulia.com. Also, if it’s been a while since you’ve visited, the listing information includes more facts than ever before, from price history to real estate trends and comparable homes for sale in the neighborhood. And if you’re just getting started and you need a local agent to rep you, every property page also offers an agent (or four, or more!) who would be happy to help.
#4: Map Views You Can Use
Once you’ve found a listing you like, but before you go out to see it, scroll down to the map and click Satellite to see where the place is positioned. Check out whether it’s on a big street, next door to a shopping mall or down the road from a school. Then, click Street View to scope out the neighbors’ homes and how they are maintained.
#5: Property Specs by Text
Don’t you hate it when you drive past your dream house, screech the car to a halt, hop out to grab a flyer and there’s none in the box?! Or the ones that are the box are all faded from the sun or matted from the rain or sprinklers? Check the flyer box and the sign itself to see if the agent offers ‘text’ flyers. Increasingly, you can opt out of a paper flyer and just send a quick text to get an immediate reply that includes the beds, baths, square footage and list price for the property.
#6: Get Listings On the Go
Speaking of driving around, if you find yourself in a neighborhood that you fall in love with at first sight, whip out your iPhone, Android, Blackberry or other mobile device and visit Trulia’s mobile site to see what homes are on the market – on the spot! You can even get the listing agent’s number, email them, rate the neighborhood, and save places you like to your MyTrulia account – all from your cell phone.
#7: There’s an App for That
Used to be, the serious tenant or buyer took along a backpack full of stuff on their house hunting trips: a camera, a compass, paint swatches and a tape measure — at the bare minimum! Now there are apps for each of these functions – so your smartphone can minimize your load. Just search your smartphone brand’s app store (like Android’s Google Play or Apple’s App Store) for tape any of those items, and see what pops up! Many apps are free, and you can see how well they’re reviewed right there in the app store. Once you’ve downloaded your apps, you’re ready to go! You can even take paint swatches on the go with Sherwin Williams’ ColorSnap app, which lets you match real-world colors to paint, coordinate colors, and create custom palettes to compliment those of the property you’re viewing.
#8: Local Experts’ Answers to Your Personal Real Estate Questions
Smart home hunters often have questions specific to their personal situations that aren’t on any tutorial or FAQ list. When you have personal, pressing questions about your renting or buying experience, post your question to Trulia Voices. Specify your area, and local Agents will chime in and share their expertise and need-to-knows.
#9: Give and Take: Neighborhood Ratings and Reviews
Use Trulia ratings and reviews to check out what other members of the Trulia community have said about a neighborhood you’re considering. In addition to info about the home, you might even find out that the best bakery, bookstore or yoga studio in town is just a hop, skip and a jump from your prospective home-to-be! And you can repay the favor. When you see a Trulia listing in a neighborhood you know, take a few seconds and rate it, or even write a quick review sharing your opinion of the place with the world!
We hope you find these tips useful. It’s amazing what we can do with technology these days. For even more tips, follow Trulia and and our Real Estate Realist Tara on facebook!