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Four Tips to Keep In Mind, When Searching Online

When it comes to looking at homes online consumers have a lot of website and app options. For example, there’s Zillow,, RedFin, and Broker websites such as our Broker, Coldwell Banker’s. With so many options it can be overwhelming as well as time consuming to navigate through all the choices. In addition, not all sites are updated with “real-time” information meaning when the market is active, like it is right now, homes may sell before they even appear online. Here are some things to keep in mind as you begin your online search.

You’ll still need pre-approval. Pre-approval is important because it helps determine what your budget is. Each website or app will allow you to filter homes by budget and will eliminate anything above or below your price range. More on filters in just a bit. For now, the single best piece of advice we have is to skip the Zillows of the world and go straight to an agent to get set up with a custom MLS search. Here’s why:

1. Almost all apps and websites pull information from MLS, meaning a home has to be listed on MLS first and then the website auto updates (sometimes every few hours sometimes just once a day) to reflect any new homes that hit the market. We recently had a home sell within hours of hitting the market and because of the lag in time between a home being officially listed and the Zillow and RedFin sites refreshing their data, we’re willing to bet that it didn’t appear on many of these third-party sites until after it already had an accepted offer.

2. Going back to filtering options. Aside from cost and bedroom or bathroom count, your agent can use MLS to set a significant more amount of filters to ensure you’re only looking at homes that are a good match.

3. Even better, MLS emails you a daily list of homes that meet your criteria. This saves you from having to go and navigate multiple sites on your own.

4. MLS acts as a way to communicate with your agent. See a home you like? Indicate it within the MLS dashboard and your agent will see your interest level and get the ball rolling so you don’t miss out on your dream home.

For these reasons, MLS is the option that saves both the buyer and their agent the most time. It’s the most up-to-date option and therefore it gets our vote as the best place to start your online search. Let us know if we can help you by contacting or 715-828-0903.

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