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11 Best Websites For Home Buyers (2020)

Best Websites For Home Buyers | Today I'm Home

Written by

David Bolton

/

June 22, 2020

Whether you're in the market for a property to rent or a new home, your first instinct is to visit the internet and browse through various real estate websites. As such, here are some of the best real estate websites for you.

In today's world of technology, using digital tools is no longer an option. It's vital if you want to make the most of your search, especially when buying a home. The game is no longer what it used to be as there's so much information out there for both buyers and sellers. This is because there are loads of websites out there where you can find a house to buy. But which is the best website for house hunting? And what other additional websites can you use to find more information about a new home?

When you're ready to buy a house, which is certainly one of the biggest purchases in your life, there's no such thing as too much information. In other words, you need as much information as possible. But because there are so many websites to choose from, it can be quite challenging to know the most reliable website. From the most common ones such as Zillow, Realtor.com, and Trulia to the not-so-familiar ones such as NeighborhoodScout and RealtyTrac, you have lots of great options.

In this comprehensive guide, we'll show you the best websites for buying a house, provide you with an insightful overview of each site, and how you can use them to make your house hunting a lot easier.

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Table of Contents:

Zillow

With a database of over 110 million homes across the United States, Zillow is highly-reputable as the world's real estate marketplace. Launched in 2006, this is the site that other real estate websites want to be. Whether you're looking for a place to rent, you want to sell or buy a home; Zillow is the go-to-place for all your real estate needs.

One of the best features of using Zillow is how it's designed to give you specific searches. You can easily filter whatever home you want in terms of price, location, size, feature, home type, and many more. This site also provides incisive information such as neighborhood info, regarding commute times, local schools, walkability scores, and security score. You'll also get information regarding mortgage fees of the homes, estimated monthly costs, insurance, and property taxes.

That's not all; Zillow offers exclusive access to Zestimate. This is an estimate of a home's true value. Through what's known as proprietary algorithms, Zillow will tell you the going rate of the home you are looking to buy or the home you're looking to sell. It also allows you to have an aerial view picture of the houses and compare the prices of the homes in one location or different locations.

The only downside of Zestimate is that you can only rely on these estimates. This is because the prices of the homes may heavily depend on the condition of the house, the potential work that should be done, and the number of competing buyers. In addition to offering a free research platform, Zillow is a very useful platform if you want to research the local market trends, median home values, seasonal fluctuations, sales prices, and more.

Pros

  • You get millions of homes to choose from
  • It allows you to customize your searches
  • It gives you the flexibility of either using the website or the mobile app
  • Zestimate offers the type of info that every homebuyer needs

Cons

  • The estimates from Zestimate are sometimes inaccurate and unrealistic
  • This web has been accused of listing agents alongside properties that aren't theirs

Trulia

Closely following on the heels of Zillow, Trulia is another superb website for buying a house. This is perhaps because Zillow added Trulia to its portfolio back in 2015. Although it doesn't have a lot of features like Zillow, Trulia has everything to give Zillow a run for its money. This is a real estate platform "goes beyond a typical real estate listing" as it gives you more information about the property and the neighborhood.

This is a great platform for browsing homes for sale and researching market information and mortgage rates. It also provides lots of information on various features that can make your life much better such as walkability scores, school districts, crime rates, commute estimates, on-foot accessibility, market trends, and many more.

This is, without a doubt, an on-the-go real estate website thanks to its excellent easy-to-navigate app. This platform connects users with agents, mortgage lenders, and property managers. It's a great platform if you want to get professional guidance and solutions in terms of searching, purchasing, and owning property.

All in all, Trulia provides you with a greater understanding of a particular neighborhood. It offers unique and helpful information, an interactive map feature, and other excellent features.

Pros

  • It's available both as a website and an app
  • It offers more than just a normal real estate listing
  • Offers easier access to professionals such as agents, property managers, and mortgage lenders

Cons

  • It relies heavily on tax records
  • The platform has no live links to connect buyers with professionals

Redfin

For over 10 years, Redfin remains one of the most consistent, accurate, fast, and the most user-friendly real estate website in the United States. As with other sites, Redfin mainly relies on Multiple Listing Services (MLS) to get helpful information.

This site works exactly like some of the best real estate websites in the world. In addition to giving you the chance to view listings, you'll get interactive maps of the areas, boundaries, the best places to live, as well as other info such as how long the property has been on the market, its size, and type.

You'll also get price estimates, the photos of the property, tax info, local school ratings, and other useful information. In essence, this platform has more upfront info about their services than most of its competitors. The platform uses its distinctive red coloring to distinguish its own agents' listing. However, the platform's website is more informative than its app.

Although Redfin doesn't provide expansive home listings, it generally updates after every 10 minutes. You can also use the platform's 3D to help you get the real feel of the home before planning a physical tour.

Pros

  • This is a robust platform that makes buying and selling a property a lot easier
  • Its offers affordable commission and brokerage fees
  • It's more versatile
  • Its 3D feature gives you a real tour of the homes

Cons

  • The platform doesn't offer personal online tours

Realtor.com

As another excellent house hunting platform, Realtor.com sets itself from its competitors thanks to its attention to detailed data and statistics. This platform is one of the most reliable real estate platforms if you want accurate data on home values, the locations' housing market forecast, the general overview of the neighborhoods, details on best schools, businesses, commute times, as well as crime rates. This can be easily done through the platform's "Find Your Neighborhood" feature.

For almost three decades, Realtor.com has also offered incredible services revolving around selling and buying property, as well as mortgages, and rent. For homebuyers, this is an incredible platform that will help you learn the home-buying process, calculate the worth of various homes, and understand the process of choosing the right agent for your home-buying process.

This platform is sponsored by the National Association of Realtors. It has provided professional info to homebuyers, homeowners, and home sellers since 1994 and is one of the first online platforms that provided wide info on real estate. That's not all; this online tool encourages home buyers and sellers to connect to over 1 million real estate agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors.

In essence, Realtor.com offers lots of statistics and data about neighborhoods and the air of professionalism that the site oozes separates it from its competitors. Whether you're a casual or serious home buyer, this platform will provide you with insightful information.

Pros

  • It's sponsored by the National Association of Realtors, which makes it trustworthy and highly reputable
  • You get the chance of dealing with licensed real estate agents
  • You get to view over a million homes

Cons

  • This platform only allows licensed real estate agents to place adverts on the platform

Homes.com

Another great platform that gathers its information from MLS, as well as other real estate websites, Homes.com is a superb platform if you're looking to compare various homes that are on the market. You not only learn how the values of the properties have changed over time but you'll also gain a sense of home value trends and whether or not the values will appreciate in the future.

One of the most useful features of this platform is its Snap & Search tool. This can allow you to see the home you love, take a picture, and let the tool find similar homes that match the characteristics of the home in the picture. In other words, this unique matching tool shows how the home in the picture resonates with your exact needs.

Many users compare this site to a dating app as it promises to help you find a perfect home.

Pros

  • It helps home buyers find properties that match their dreams
  • It offers top-notch properties for sale and rent
  • It's intuitive and user-friendly both on mobile versions and desktops

Cons

  • It does have an expansive database like most of its competitors

RealtyTrac

With over 120 million foreclosed properties, RealtyTrac offers buyers who purchase a subscription service access to some of the best foreclosed properties, location of auctions, and loan histories across the country.

You'll get excellent foreclosure deals and bank-owned homes on this site. Although the subscription of $49.95 per month seems quite high, you'll access some amazing deals if you're willing to pay this fee. In addition to foreclosed homes, you'll gain access to neighborhood data, auction dates and locations, real estate guides, and property information.

One of the main downsides of buying some of the foreclosed homes in this list is buying "as-is" properties. This means that the bank won't do any repairs on the house. But even with that, you won't have to worry about back taxes or liens as the homes will come with a clear title.

You should, however, keep in mind that this may not be the case if you buy the home through a foreclosure auction. Under such a scenario, you can buy a property with a clouded title, which would mean that you have to inherit any debt or taxes on the property. With that in mind, you should be extra careful when hunting for a home on this site. Nonetheless, buying a foreclosed home from RealtyTrac can yield great deals given that the prices of homes listed on this site only have an outstanding mortgage, which can be very low.

Pros

  • This platform is user-friendly and straightforward
  • Most properties on this list are not costly
  • There are lots of foreclosed homes

Cons

  • The subscription is very high
  • Foreclosed homes may come with various issues

NeighborhoodScout

Let's be honest; moving to a new neighborhood is always very challenging, particularly if you're unfamiliar with the area. If you're in such a situation, NeighborhoodScout can be of great help. This is because it's an intensely data-driven platform that not only provides you with detailed data on various neighborhoods across the country but will also match you with the perfect neighborhoods.

In addition to learning about the prices of homes in the neighborhoods, this site offers incisive metrics about the neighborhoods such as crime rates, school districts, demographics, and many more. The subscriptions might be high but it's a great platform if you want extensive information about the neighborhood you want to move to. You can also have market forecasts that will help you make the right choices. NeighborhoodScout is an excellent site for you if you believe in the power of Big Data.

Pros

  • A great place if you want big data on various neighborhoods
  • You can easily compare different neighborhoods
  • A great site to learn more about a neighborhood before moving
  • Offers incisive features of over 600 neighborhoods across the country

Cons

  • The subscription costs are quite costly
  • The site concentrates more on neighborhoods rather than homes

HomeFinder

Unlike other real estate platforms that offer several services, HomeFinder is mainly a listing site where a seller can upload various photos of his/her homes on the platform. The platform then shares these homes and their info across various social media platforms for buyers.

With lots of properties for sale or rent, this is an interesting off-market platform where sellers and buyers can directly contact each other through emails and calls. This platform is especially appealing to FSBO sellers and buyers, or anyone else who is looking to avoid using real estate agents or a flat rate MLS fee. This is a great platform for finding homes that are not listed on other platforms, and if you want to negotiate directly with the seller.

Pros

  • Offers foreclosed and auctioned homes
  • An excellent home if you want open houses
  • You get to negotiate directly with the seller
  • You can browse a specific location or type of house based on price and size

Cons

  • It's purposely for listing

GreatSchools.org

Do you still have kids and want some of the best schools for them? GreatSchools.org is the best place if schools and their qualities are one of your main priorities when looking for a home. In other words, this is a great platform if you have school-going kids and you want good schools for them. Again, better schools can influence the long-term value for homes in that particular area and can be of great benefit down the road if you want to sell your home.

GreatSchool.org rates each school in the area on a scale of 1 to 10 while looking at various features such as test scores, discipline issues, college readiness, and teacher-to-students ratio. This is, without a doubt, an excellent platform if you want to make an informed choice on the best place to raise a family, even though you should closely look at each school before making the final decision. For instance, you'd want to know whether or not your kids will be allowed to attend a particular school through a lottery system.

This is a great place to start if schools in the area are a huge factor. Even if you don't mind having a perfect home in a poor school district, don't forget that it may be quite challenging when you want to sell it as many families in the area won't make offers if they believe that their kids won't have quality education.

Pros

  • An excellent place to start if you have school-going kids
  • You'll get more information about schools

Cons

  • Concentrates more on schools than the actual homes

HomeSales.gov

Have you ever wondered what happens to foreclosed homes that had federally-sponsored mortgages? Well, they generally end up getting auctioned on HomeSales.gov. This is the platform where the federal government sells properties that were once backed by VA, USDA, and HUD mortgages.

In most cases, the federal government will sell these properties rationally and dispassionately so it's an excellent platform for getting some great deals. And because the government is not highly-engaged when it comes to owning a home, it'll usually sell these homes "as is" so you may find a home with various problems ranging from minor to major. It can also be difficult to view the properties and you may even be required to put down an offer before getting a tour of the house.

All in all, you can get a great deal from such sales, so you should always be on the lookout in case there's something that might be of interest to you.

Pros

  • Most homes come at affordable prices
  • You can get amazing deals

Cons

  • There are a lot of bureaucracies

Auction.com

Just like RealtyTrac, Auction.com is some sort of a clearinghouse of foreclosed or bank-owned properties. Though not as big as RealtyTrac, you can still get over 30,000 foreclosed properties across the country, which is a great number. Sold under the auctioning process, most opening bids can be as low as one-third of the projected resale value, which makes it an excellent place for finding great deals.

In most cases, this platform works exactly like eBay, so it comes with both advantages and disadvantages. For example, you'll get an amazing deal if you're the only interested party but things can quickly escalate if there are several buyers interested in the same property. Keep in mind that most properties have a particular reserve price, so the property will not be sold if no bid either meets or exceeds that price. Nevertheless, most properties on this platform attract lots of interest and there's generally a bidding war, which often drives the price up.

Sellers who use this platform are known to prefer a fast sale to a maximum price. However, it can be expensive to sell on this platform as the auction fees can be costly. For buyers, you'll have to immediately put down a 10% down payment if you win the auction.

Pros

  • There are very many properties on the platform
  • You can find a bargain if there is no other interest in the property

Cons

  • The property can end up being costly if there are lots of bids

Conclusion

Buying your dream home can be exciting but the entire process of house hunting, finding what suits you in a perfect neighborhood, and dealing with agents can be challenging and quite intimidating, especially in these times of uncertainty. But to make it a lot easier for you, particularly from the comfort of your home and on your gadget, you can use the above-described websites to shop for a new home.

No matter which website you choose, you should be in a better place towards making one of the most important purchases of your life: your dream home.

Need to sell your house fast?

Sometimes life happens, and you need to get out of your house and mortgage payment quickly. Our partners have helped many families going through foreclosure, divorce, and more.

GET AN OFFER NOW

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