How to Safely Search For Houses Online
September 27, 2021 | Posted by: Sherry Corbitt
Finding a house online can be a lot easier than looking at listings in person. Yet, it can be challenging to find safe websites that list real and suitable houses. However, there are some practical guidelines that you can follow when searching for houses online.
Check the Website
Before you check any of the house listings on a website, it is wise to examine the website itself. If it is a website that you have not heard of, try searching up the website for reviews. If it is a safe site, there should be a variety of good reviews from people. Although such reviews can sometimes be robots, when you click on the person who wrote the review, you can use your judgment to tell. After finding out more about the website, it is good to read through some of the pages on their site. Real listing sites will offer a good amount of information about the company and what they strive to do. If you do not see any pages like these, it would be best to find another site. Another area to check is their contact page. This page should list some contacts for real estate agents that are dealing with the houses. Try sending a message to one of them to inquire about their real estate and their company.
Visit Their Office Location
Although these houses are listed online, the companies or real estate agents list them should usually have an office. If you are unsure about the listing you found on a site, it is always best to find out where their office is. You can stop by their office to find out more and ensure that it is a safe deal. Over the internet, anything could look real. This can stumble many people, and they, unfortunately, can lose a lot. By going in person, you elevate any worry you had and can ensure the safety of your personal information or money.
Inspect the Prices
Once you have established that the basic aspects of the website are safe, you can start looking at listings. An easy way to see if these listings are fake is by looking at the prices. If you are buying a house in your area, you will already know what the costs are. If your prices are not matching with theirs, do some investigating first. It may be that the house has specific features that other houses do not offer. Recent renovation could also be a reason why the price is listed higher than others. Yet if you see that it does not have any of these things, it would be best to contact the real estate agent. If they do not offer you information that helps solve your inquiries, look somewhere else.
If there is a house that you are settled on, one of the first things you would do is to contact the seller of the real estate agent. Shortly after, they should get back to start the purchase process. Yet if a real estate agent or seller is asking for money before you have even bought it, be alert that this is a good sign of a scam. Of course, there can be exceptions, depending on some fees that may be involved. Yet you should not start paying for the house itself until your closing date and after you have signed with your lawyers. So if anyone asks you for early payment, get out of that situation right away.
When you are planning on buying a house online, the real estate agent will contact you and make the necessary arrangements. They may ask for some signatures and documents related to the purchase. They certainly are not allowed, though, to ask for personal information, such as your sin number, your bank statements, or pay stubs. If you are getting a mortgage on this house, only your lender will ask for those documents.
Ask For Help
If you are not very familiar with looking for houses online, determine which ones are real from scam sites. If you are in this situation, getting help will ensure that you find a safe listing. There are many professionals that you can call who can list off some reliable and secure house websites. If you happen to have a friend or neighbour who found their house online, try speaking with them. They can tell you which site they used and what the process what like for them. Do not feel bad if you need help in finding a safe site. On the contrary, you will be thankful that you asked for help when dealing with the consequences of a scam.
Searching for houses online definitely can be unsafe in many ways. However, when you look out for the hazards and know what a safe site looks like, you can be assured that you can search for a house safely.
If you have any questions or concerns about safely searching for a house online, please reach out to me!
Sherry Corbitt, Mortgage Broker
-Betterhomes (2020). How to Search For Properties On the Internet. Retrieved from https://www.bhomes.com/blog/post/how-to-search-for-properties-on-the-internet/