In an era where you can buy nearly anything online, you can even buy a house using the internet. However, buying a house online is a bit more complicated than putting items in your cart and paying with your credit card. Before you get started on buying a house online, you’ll want to understand the steps you need to make it happen. How long it takes will depend on your goals and how you want to get there. Here are some steps that can help you get started.
Create your must-have list
To buy anything online, you need to know what you are looking for. Making a list of must-haves such as a certain number of bathrooms, a backyard, or access to amenities like shopping and schools, can help you more easily search for ideal homes. You can add a few nice-to-haves to your search too.
Research the market
Unless you already know exactly what you are looking for in a home, you’ll need to research the market to understand the options. If you are considering different cities or neighborhoods, you can use an online tool like Zillow to search by zip code or city. This can give you a broad overview of the general price for homes with the characteristics you are looking for.
Set a budget
After some initial research, you will get an estimate of how much you might need to spend on your ideal home. This can help you adjust your must-haves and your budget as needed. You might need to save more or modify your mortgage estimate depending on how this number lands with what you had anticipated.
Determine if you will buy with cash or a mortgage
Your budget can also help you decide if you will buy a house in cash or go the route of most homeowners by securing a mortgage. Buying in cash will mean that you can close the deal faster, and may even buy a home for less than with a mortgage.
Consider online buying options
You have many options for buying a home online. While it’s not unheard of to buy a home without visiting it in person, you may want to see the home at least once before signing. Other than online listings from real estate agents and sites like Zillow there are also online foreclosure auctions where you might find a deal.
Decide if you will partner with a real estate agent
A real estate agent may introduce you to a wider range of homes than you could find on your own. However, when you are buying online, you could also find a home using the internet, without a real estate agent.
Look at homes online
Whether you are partnering with a real estate agent or buying a home on your own, taking a look at online listings is a must and you may find that some homes even have dedicated websites for tours.
Set up virtual tours
With virtual reality, you may be able to view some homes online with 3D photos and video, for others, you can arrange for a virtual tour, just as you would a showing or open house.
Buying a house online isn’t for everyone, but it’s definitely possible with a plan and following a few key steps.