The interent is a great place to search for homes for sale and for researching neighborhoods and for most anything real estate related. Who knows maybe one day buyers will be able to buy a home over the internet.When doing real estate research it is important to keep in mind that real estate is local and that data is best when it is fresh. I have written about home prices and I recently found an article that I wrote in 2007 about how hard it is to find a home that is move in ready for less than 100K.
Home prices have gone way down since I wrote that and yes Virginia you can find a great home for less than 100K. Reading an article about how to buy a condo in New York City is pretty useless if the goal is to buy a condo in Minnesota. There are national economic trends that impact our local market but that does not make the statement that real estate is local any less true.
When using the internet for research always try to find the date that an article was written and if at all possible where it was written. It doesn’t hurt to know something about who wrote it either. There is some pretty generic advice out there that is timeless like how to get your home ready to sell but the generic articles written in California will leave out the part about the St. Paul truth in housing inspection or how to winterize a vacant house. It doesn’t hurt to check the local sites for the basics.
When you buy real estate you are buying local. It doesn’t hurt to support local real estate companies or offices in the same neighborhood that you want to live in. Chances are an agent who lives in the neighborhood that she works in knows the area better than someone from a distant suburb.
Also see “Local Home Prices and Market Conditions“