Tips on How to Use Real Estate Websites

Real Estate Sites / What I need to know

The use of popular real estate sites is a very common and practical means of investigating the real estate marketplaces. The sites have developed into extremely professional and informative sites that identify most of the data that is required to, accurately and professionally analyze the real estate market.

It is interesting to think back to the time, when computers were not available, and the only means of identifying real estate for sale, was to read the paper. I realize that this acknowledgement identifies how old I am, but yes, there was a time when the only method of identifying open houses, houses for sale and any information on these homes, was the written papers or magazines that were located in the local convenience stores. I can remember actually knowing more about the real estate marketplace than some of the realtors that we contacted.

This has all changed, in today’s day and age, the ability to investigate all of the real estate opportunities, on a moment’s notice, via the internet, is extremely valuable and has developed into an amazing tool. I have spent considerable time researching these real estate sites, and have noticed that there are various short cuts to more efficiently process the information. There will be no acknowledgement of which sites we prefer, however, a quick search of the real estate marketplace within your local market, will quickly identify the more accurate and detailed sites.

Listed below, are several observations that may contribute to a more efficient and successful review of these sites.

  • Filters / filters have been developed on all the sites, to allow you to identify more accurately the type of real estate you will be searching for.


The most popular filters include:


  • Rent or Sale / This filter will allow the user to identify whether the property is for rent or sale.
  • Single family, multi family, condos, duplex, etc. / allows the selection of the type of property being researched.
  • Specialty filters /  Particular requirements, such as waterfront
  • Price filters / the value of the properties can be selected from a minimum to a maximum
  • Number of baths, Number of beds / filters that allow the identification of the number of bathrooms or bedrooms, or the minimum required of each


  • Price / the price will be indicated, and on some sites, the estimated value that this particular site estimates should be the proper value for the property.


  • Square footage / clear indication of the square footage of the property


  • Size of the property / clear indication of the property size


  • Tax history / some sites will offer an analysis of the tax history of the property


  • Pricing history / some sites will identify the rise and fall of the property value
  • Schools and demographics of the area / some sites will provide information regarding the proximity of the schools around the property as well as the various demographics of the area

Each real estate site will offer a different variation of the property description. It is best to search the internet for different sites and identify the easiest and most informative site for your needs. Each site is customized, and it will require time and research to find the best real estate site for you.

There are some short cuts that can be used to identify various aspects of the properties, as you research for various properties.

  • Use the square foot value that is associated with the value of the home. This value is the cost of the home, divided by the square footage of the home. This is a very easy method of quickly evaluating via a financial comparison of different properties.


  • The length of time that the property has been on the market. This identification will indicate how long the property has been for sale and how the market has reacted. I always find that the easiest method of evaluating properties on a daily basis, is to have the “newest” filter selected, to allow the newest properties to show up first, each day that you search the specific sites.


  • The number of viewers. On some sites, the number of views that each property has been researched and in some cases, saved, will offer a quick evaluation of the popularity of this property.


  • In some cases, the overall impression identified by the photos of the property, is an instant identification of the timing of the property, how long it has actually been for sale, and whether the property was already on real estate sites, taken off, and placed back on. This is a somewhat devious methodology that is used to make a property that has been on the market for a length of time, appear new to a site. If it is summer time, and the photos have snow in them, then you can be somewhat confident that the property has already been on the market previously.


  • Visit open houses. This will quickly allow you to assess the realistic evaluation of the properties based upon the photographs on the site. It will become very easy for you to identify the tricks of the trade, in reference to photos and angles of presentation. Research the property on the real estate site, then visit the home, realism will become extremely obvious.


  • Remember that the total monthly cost of the property must include the real estate taxes for the property. Be aware that each real estate site will indicate a different evaluation of the approximate value of the monthly costs for the property. Make sure that you understand what is included in the projected monthly costs, such as taxes.


  • Set up an excel spreadsheet that summarizes the various details of the specific properties that you are interested in.

I recommend that these real estate sites be researched and evaluated on a daily basis. The specific characteristics of each site, as well as the formalities of each site, will quickly become obvious, and you will develop your own methods of research.

The ability to research the various real estate markets has become easy and efficient. Use the sites and enjoy, they have made it much easier than the days of following the paper!


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