I know, I know. We’re all looking for a 5 acre French Country estate in turn-key condition in Fairfax for under $200,000 (well, at least I know I am). But whether you are dreaming or actively searching, it’s tough to know the best real estate engine to use. Don’t worry! We’re so obsessed with home searches that we’ve run down the top five for you:
Redfin.com/Estately.com/Trulia/forsalebyowner.com/landsofvirginia.com – These websites have their place, and we could write a whole other post on them. But the bottom line is their place is at the back of the line. The way way back of the line (although Trulia is fighting hard to make a comeback). These are websites you search if you have exhausted all the other ones, just to make sure you haven’t missed a nook or cranny (chances are you haven’t). Which is why we are moving on to …
Craigslist – C’mon, we all know we’ve done it. Why pay for a professional realtor when you can pay cold hard cash to a Craigslist Creeper? The reality of Craigslist is that if it’s too good to be true (like that link to a historic farmette for under $300K in the heart of Vienna, VA I sent to my sister-in-law), it definitely is. Most Craigslist posts are just Realtor posts in disguise, HOWEVER, Craigslist IS one of the best ways to search for a rental property (or find renters). Even so, we strongly advise you to have a Redux Realty team member look over any rental agreement in order to make sure your interests are protected, and that your dream house really does exist (!) before you lay down that security deposit.
Zillow – The most frustrating words any Realtor can hear are, “But Zillow says …”. With a strong, user-friendly platform, Zillow is a great option for casual searching … and even more casual researching. While Zillow’s figures and estimates can give you a ballpark figure of what a home’s value might be worth, those figures are GUESSTIMATES based mostly on tax records and are often way, way wrong. We LOVE Zillow. We really do (we’re a Premier Agent http://www.zillow.com/profile/reduxrealty/ on the site), and would love for you to give us a positive review). But please please please please PLEASE check with us for real-time comps and home values, and find out whether or not the home is even actively available for sale before you start packing.
Realtor.com – Realtor.com and I are best friends. Clean, user-friendly format. So searcheable. So non-obtrusive. The holder of all my secret hopes and dreams. I used to use it exclusively, but later discovered two major glitches – I couldn’t search by school district AND I couldn’t de-select homes that were already under-contract. Sorting through boundary lines that crossed zip codes and clicking through every single house (only to discover that most of them weren’t available) has gotten old really quickly. Which brings us too …
Reduxrealty.com – Biased? Maybe. But trust me, when I heard our Redux Realty team had invested in the number one home search tool I was skeptical. Real skeptical (remember about my love affair with #2 on this list?). But I tell you what – once I registered and took a few minutes to get aquainted with my options, I haven’t looked back. (If registering bothers you, just remember that if you live in Northern Virginia, Redux Realty Lead Agent Chris Craddock probably already has your contact information anyways – ha!). Reduxrealty.com lets you search by school boundary. It has an amazing gallery view that lets you quickly eliminate homes just on curb appeal. Their elimination options are smoother, and you can kick-out homes that are under-contract, short sales, or foreclosures (although Redux Realty is actually one of the few bonafide experts on distressed real estate, fixer-uppers and flips), and it’s save and suggest functions are top-tier. Essentially, YOU can search for homes using the full power of the MRIS – putting you in the driver’s seat and giving you the same real estate search power and capabilities as a licensed Realtor (and, when you need a Realtor to close your deal or answer a question on a property, our live chat will directly connect you with a conversation with one of us!).
So, in summary, next time you are searching for your dream home (lunch breaks, corporate meetings, naptime) give dmv.thereduxgroup.com a test drive and let us know what you think!