Any home listing will tell you how many bedrooms and bathrooms are in the home and the seller’s asking price for the home.
However, online home listings can provide you with much more information than that. The information revealed in a home listing online can tell you a great deal more about a home than a paper listing before you ever see it in person. For that matter, an online home listing can help you decide whether it is even worth scheduling a viewing.
While some online home listings do a great job of authentically representing the home to the kinds of buyers who would legitimately be interested in living there, others fall into one of two categories. Either they exaggerate the home’s features to make a property sound like a better deal than it is, or they simply fail to execute on the factors that make for a great home listing. In either case, you can help yourself greatly to sort through all these possibilities by knowing what to look for when you browse home listings online.
The first things to look for in a home listing, whether online or off, are always the basics. Besides the number of beds and baths, this also includes:
Note whether the home has a fireplace and comes with appliances like a washer/dryer, dishwasher, garbage disposal, refrigerator or microwave. Also note whether the home has a patio, deck or porch.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a real estate photo may be worth a thousand or more. No amount of description can substitute for a full-color photo when it comes to visualizing the home advertised in a listing. An online home listing should have plenty of such photos displaying all the rooms in the house, ideally from different angles, as well as the exterior of the home from all sides, its orientation to the road and the scope of the yard. If any of these photos are absent, it is worth wondering why. While an omission of certain photos could be merely an oversight, and an omission of any photos altogether could be the result of a simple technical issue. It could also reflect a problem with that part of the home or lot that might make it less desirable. Photo factors to look for in an online home listing besides how many photos there are and how much of the home is represented include the following:
Straight talk succinctly and accurately describes a home in plainspoken terms. The opposite of straight talk is sales talk, which is manufactured talk designed not for accuracy, but to make a sale. As you browse home listings online, read between the lines to determine whether you are reading a straightforward description of a property or a sales pitch designed to appeal to your desires. The square footage of a room, for example, tells you exactly how big it is. “Cozy” tells you it may feel too small to some people. Similarly, a house described as “rustic” may be constructed of fine hardwood using older building techniques or it may require heavy renovation. Facts are invaluable and indisputable. With opinions, you always have to consider the source.
Besides convenience, online home listings can give you something many paper listings cannot offer. Online home listings can offer you access to mapping tools. Thanks to satellite technology and companies like Google, most online home listings these days are linked to mapping tools that allow you to explore added information on a home that the listing does not tell you: