Buying January 31, 2014

Digital Trends in House Hunting

It should come as no surprise that online and mobile tools have become very valuable to people while they are in the process of buying and selling homes. According to a 2012 study by Google and the National Association of REALTORS® , 90% of home buyers used online search tools while looking for a home. In many ways, technology has improved the home buying process and provided sellers with more exposure to listings, while helping to decrease the overall sales cycle. Here’s a look at some helpful online tools that you can use during your next home purchase or sale.  

Online home search:

With access to more data, real estate companies like Windermere can provide you with many ways to find your dream home. Beyond price, square footage, bedrooms, and zip code, you can now refine your search even further. For example, you can search for a home listing based on specific criteria, such as your commute time, access to good schools, neighborhood walkability, and more.

myWindermere tools & social share:

Windermere offers a tool called myWindermere, which lets you create an account in which you can save favorite searches and homes, communicate with your real estate agent, and more. You can also share any of our online listings with your social networks, including Facebook, Pinterest, twitter and google+.

Mobile & Apps:

Studies suggest that more and more people are using mobile to search for homes with as many as 68 percent of buyers using mobile applications at some point in their search. As a result, many real estate companies have optimized their websites for mobile usage. In fact, 36 percent of people using mobile for home search are simultaneously multitasking, such as while watching television. 

Real-time search: If you are using a tablet for real-time searching while driving around, Zillow and Trulia both have comparable location based searches that might be helpful. But remember, Zillow and Trulia do not have access to the complete inventory of homes for sale, so you should also consult your favorite real estate company’s website along the way.

Note-taking: Keeping track of the details on multiple houses can get difficult. We recommend using a tool like Homing In to capture photos and notes of the places you have visited.

Interior design apps: If you are trying to visualize what a space would look like with you living in it, here’s a great app to use.

Mortgage Calculator: Get a realistic estimate of how much your monthly mortgage payments would be while searching for homes.

Sex offender tracker: Check the proximity of sex offenders to your potential home with this app.

Communities & Social Networks:

Community blogs: Before choosing a community, seek out more information through local blogs. Many neighborhoods now feature online news sources and local bloggers to talk about regional events, civic news, crime information, local shops, restaurants, and more.

Social Networks:  Once you have chosen a community, join a private social network like to connect with neighbors, keep updated on your neighborhood news, and share and receive recommendations for local shops and restaurants.

Meet-up: Make new friends and try new things in real-time by using tools like to get together with likeminded folks.

Comparative Market Analysis:

If you are selling your home, make sure your agent performs a comparative market analysis which compares your home to others that have sold in your area.

Online signature tools:

Once you have found your dream home, technology can make closing easier. Tools like Docusign allow you to sign your final contracts easily online or with mobile.

Insurance & moving:

Many insurance providers offer online and mobile tools that make taking your home inventory, scanning bar codes, uploading photos, and other important documentation easier. Taking inventory of your home will also help you pack for your move, plan where your possessions should go in your future home, and insure your items throughout the move process.