Finding homes online is not the most effective use of time for a buyer.
Yes it’s interesting, yes it’s entertaining, but it is a less than effective way to really shop for a home.
By far the most valuable time you can spend looking at homes is to actually have all of the information and physically visiting each home and neighborhood.
Doing this with an experienced Realtor will even be better. Most buyers will understand this very well once they are able to look with an agent that really knows the inventory and market that they work in.
Don’t get me wrong, the Internet is great, but I guarantee you that you will know more once you look at homes in person.
With all of the places that an agent can post information on a property offered for sale, and the never ending shelf life of a website, accuracy is a problem. Don’t assume that sites like Trulia, Zillow, Realty Trac, or even Realtor.com are accurate and up to date. They will only be as accurate as the feed that supplies them. Things like price changes, status, and even agency are often incorrect.
Almost weekly I get a call from a buyer that loves a home that they see online. This is great, especially since they called me! The problem is that homes look different online than they do in person. I don’t know a real estate agent that takes photos of any of the negative things that might not be attractive to a buyer and posts them on the Internet intentionally.
Looking online at homes will give you a good idea of what is available, but once you’re serious, you need to see the homes in person with a local Realtor that knows the inventory.