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Tips for Finding a House on the Internet

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Tips for Finding a House on the Internet

by Selwyn Bergman
04 Mar 2007
Athlone Website
Athlone Website

Online tools are a great value for any homebuyer and it is easy to become overwhelmed with information overload. Read about a method to help deal with online property searches.



Looking for a new home using the internet is a great tool for any homebuyer. In this day and age, online property searches are becoming the first stop for people interested in Real Estate - it allows people to scan through a wide range of properties, even in distant cities and countries at the few clicks of a mouse. The days of using your weekends and physically driving through one interesting area after another are coming to an end as the popularity of online property browsing takes off. However, there are a few pitfalls that come with the territory. For instance, you could end up getting what is known as "Information Overload" where you end up receiving more results than you bargained for; or even having to sift through countless amount of property that do not remotely match what you had in mind.
The days of using your weekends and physically driving through one interesting area after another are coming to an end ...
Weeding through hundreds of potential candidates can be a monumental waste of time. So, how do you narrow down the long list?

Make a List

Start with the obvious make a list of what kind of property you had in mind. If you're looking for your Dream Home, make notes about what your Dream Home should have. Include all the amenities you want and dont hold back. Record things such as the location, proximity to schools, public transport, shopping centres, type of home, pool, braai area, double garage, built in cupboards, and so forth. Be as specific as you can now, as it'll help later on with the "Weeding Process"
Make a list of what you're interested in

Consult with a Home Loan Provider.

You need to be aware of the price range that you can look at. It might be an interesting exercise to forget this for a while and browse through the multi-million rand beachfront properties for sale that normal people couldn't dream of actually owning - but this wastes time ... especially if you're dealing with Information Overload. These days most people cannot afford a new home without the assistance of a Home Loan Provider, so it helps to try and find out approximately what size of a loan you can afford. Luckily most Home Loan Providers have online calculators that makes the task easier, and further assistance from them is also but a phone call or a visit away.

Visit Websites that have Property for Sale

Finally, you are ready to begin your search. Start your online search here at http://www.athlone.co.za/property/ or at your favorite real estate site. If you cant find one, The Adverts shown above and below this article will probably take you there. Once you're there, use whatever browsing mechanism the website offers and work your way through the list.

Did you get enough / too many results?

After you run your first search, you will want to evaluate your results. For instance, if you did not get any properties in your search, you may want to remove the least important items on your list. Is it realistic to expect a pool in properties of that price range? Does the area lie too far from public transport? Look for the factors that could be limiting your search.
Be Wary of Dates
On the other hand, you could have thousands of results and need to be more restrictive in order to get the number down.

Be wary of dates

If the website displays the date that the advert was created - use it. It can be frustrating to go through a list of thousands of properties and ending up with your dream home, only to find out that its been sold 3 years ago and the "For Sale" advert was forgotten online. Some websites simply require too much administration to go through each of their property listings one by one and remove those that have expired. Others rely on the Advertisors themselves to inform the website of when the Advert should change. Further still, some websites actually offer long term advertising with an option to change the "For Sale" sign into a "Sold" sign - this allows the Estate Agency (that pays for the advert) to benefit from the exposure that the advert receives over a long period and at discounted rates.

The final results

After all this, you could, have five to twenty-five properties amongst your results. You now have a manageable list of properties to consider in your search for a new home - and you've saved countless trips to areas where you were interested.


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