Shopping for a new home can be overwhelming, whether you're doing it on your own or working with a buyer's agent. While seeing homes in person and touring them is incredibly important, a major part of the process is looking through listings. If you are like most homebuyers, then you are handling this process primarily online. This puts a huge number of homes for sale at your fingertips, which can be both a benefit and a curse. Despite the wide range of filters available on popular listing sites, it still can be incredibly difficult to sort through the massive pile of available offerings and create a short list. These three tips will help you to find the cream of the crop.
Scrutinize the Number of Photos
While it's obviously important to carefully examine the photos in a listing, the number of photos can tell you a lot about the property as well. Compare the description of the home to the photos that are available. Are there rooms or features that are described but not shown? While owners or inexperienced listing agents sometimes do not fully document a property with photos, most professional listings will include at least one photo for each room or important feature. You should be especially suspicious if the text portion of the listing describes a room in detail and that same room has few or no photos to go along with it.
Don't Rely on Listings to Understand a Neighborhood
Every competent listing agent will do their best to sell not only the property itself, but the neighborhood that it is located in. A good rule of thumb is to consider information about a home's neighborhood given in the listing an overview at best. Instead of relying on this, do your own research on the property's location. If you are already familiar with the town, be sure to research the actual street and the surrounding streets. Does it fit your criteria for walkability? Is it located in a part of town that you will be comfortable traveling to and from every day? It can be difficult to judge a neighborhood even during an in-person tour, so researching beforehand is key.
Pay Attention to the Language Used
A good listing agent understands that home buyers and buyer's agents have a limited amount of time and attention. The purpose of the description in a listing is to provide information that complements the photos and helps to let buyers know everything that they need to about a property. No good listing agent wants you to be surprised when you arrive at the property, so pay careful attention to the language used. If it is overly verbose or it seems to leave out key details, then you should probably treat the listing with some amount of caution. While a poorly worded or evasive-sounding description does not necessarily mean that a property is bad, it should be seen as a red flag.