Hommati Logo

Download the App

10 Helpful Tips For Your Online House Search

Go back
10 Helpful Tips For Your Online House Search


On average, buyers spend around ten weeks searching for a new home. Buying a home is a huge decision, so it makes sense to take your time.

Is there any way to see more homes in less time? One great way to become more efficient in your home search is by utilizing online real estate sites.

Buying a house with the help of online sites is amazing, as you can see dozens of homes in an afternoon, without needing to drive around to multiple open houses.

However, with so many homes listed online, it can be tough to know what to look for and what to focus on. To learn more, keep reading to find ten helpful tips to help you search for homes online.

1. Start By Deciding What You Need

If you are buying a home and plan to do your research online, do not start searching until you have figured out what you are looking for. As a homebuyer, you need to decide what exactly you are looking for in a home.

Think about your ‘must-haves’ along with things you would like to have in a home, but are not mandatory. Cannot live without a two-car garage? Need four bedrooms for all the kids?

We recommend spending some time brainstorming, then making a list of everything you are looking for in your new home. This will help you focus your search and will make it easier to find the right house for you.

Keep this list handy, as you will want to refer to it throughout the house hunting process. 

2. Search By Budget

Once you start your online search for your perfect home, you will note that there are plenty of fields that you can use to refine your search. For example, you can usually search by price, square footage, zip code, and lot size, to name a few.

For most homeowners, it is helpful to start with the price tab. You can set both a minimum and maximum, so that only homes within your budget are shown.

This is important, since searching online is likely to bring up dozens of gorgeous homes within your desired area. With beautiful kitchens, swimming pools, and spacious bedrooms, it is easy to fall down the rabbit hole of looking at home after home, without noticing whether or not it is in your budget!

Searching by price will save you plenty of time, since you will not be spending your time looking through home ads that are not in your budget. Be realistic as well, setting the parameters based on the amount you have been pre-approved for by your bank.

How much will a home cost? This will vary wildly based on your location and the type of home you are looking for, but it helps to know that the median US house price in 2021 is $347,500.

3. Realtors Are Still Important When Searching Online

If you are searching online for homes, do you still need to work with a realtor? Yes, many buyers might think that they can do everything themselves when they are searching for homes online, but it is still important to work with a real estate agent you trust.

This is particularly important if you are relocating to a new city and you do not know the area well. Your agent can line up a series of open houses for you while you are in town, maximizing your time.

They might also know of a few just-listed homes that are not online yet, so local knowledge can certainly pay off.

4. Read the Descriptions Carefully

Another helpful tip for your online house search is to always read descriptions very carefully. It is easy to fall in love with a home right away, just from the photos and videos, but the description is where you will really learn if a home is right for you or not.

The description should provide an honest and accurate summary of the home’s condition, best features, and any major renovations or repairs that have been done recently.

You will also want to look for any disclosure statements. These are statements required by law, alerting potential buyers of any conditions or faults within the home.

For example, if the home has any issues with the plumbing, electrical, or HVAC systems, this will be declared here.

5. What Are the Photos Showing—and Not Showing?

Next, spend some time analyzing the photos on each listing that you like. You are sure to see plenty of beautiful images, carefully crafted to appeal to homebuyers.

The photos should be clear, well-lit, and high-res, letting you get a good look at each room of the home; however, in addition to looking at what the photos do show, try to figure out if there is anything that is not being shown.

For example, there might be plenty of photos of the bedrooms, but not much visible of the bedroom carpet. This could mean the carpets are worn and in need of replacement, so consider asking the realtor about this.

Try not to be distracted by interior design, wallpaper, or cosmetic choices as well. These things can always be updated or replaced after you have moved in, so they are not necessarily deal-breakers.

6. Don’t Miss Out on the 3D Tours

When searching online, it is not just the photos that can help you view a property—you can also make use of the 3D tour function. 3D tours are an amazing way to get a feel for a home, as they let you walk through the home, just as if you were there!

You can attend multiple open houses per day, all without needing to leave home! 3D tours are made with actual photos of the home and allow you to choose direction and move through the home, just as you would if you were there. Companies like Hommati have implicated this technology with their listed homes and make it easier for buyers to view as many homes as they can from the comfort of their own couch.

7. Research the Neighborhood Online

When searching online, you do not have the luxury of walking through the neighborhood after the open house. You can still find out more about the area though, since it is always a good idea to research the neighborhood.

Searching online for the potential town or suburb you are thinking of can help you find a wealth of knowledge on everything from the local schools, shops, and facilities.

You can also look into if there is anything mentioned on zoning changes or road expansions, as these can impact your decision to buy in an area.

On some listings, you may have the ability to view drone footage of the exterior of the property. This will include shots of the house from a birds eye perspective and may also include shots of the neighborhood, focusing on amenities like a local pool or playground. 

8. Google the Street Address

Another great research tool at your disposal is Google Street View. You can enter the home’s address and see a bird’s eye view of the home, the street, and the neighbors. This is helpful to look at if the drone footage does not cover neighborhood aspects.

This is useful for getting a better understanding of where the home is situated. For example, if you zoom out on a home, is it located very close to a major highway? If so, you might prefer something quieter.

Google Street View makes it quick and easy to see any home and its surroundings.

9. Check the Square Footage

Another key tip, when looking at house websites, is to always check the square footage and floor plan. This will give you an accurate idea of the home’s size.

Real estate photographers tend to use wide-angle lenses to take photos, which can be deceiving, as they make rooms look larger than they actually are. Do not be tricked by clever photography, as a floor plan will always help you figure out if a home is large enough for your needs.

10. Arrange to Visit in Person, Once You’ve Found a Winner

After plenty of online searching, you have finally found a few incredible homes! Next, we recommend reaching out to your agent and arranging a viewing, letting you see the homes in person.

Keep in mind that homes listed online reach a huge audience, so you might not be the only person interested. Once you have found a home you love, make an offer as soon as you can, so that you do not miss out.

Buying a House Online Is Easier With Hommati By Your Side

If you are buying a house and doing your searching online, you will quickly see just how many homes are out there! While there are plenty of choices, it can also be overwhelming.

Hommati is here to make things simpler. We make it easy to search for homes online and are one of the top real estate websites in the country.

With Hommati, you can find your dream home, thanks to beautiful home listings and 3D tours. Please contact us if you have any questions about our website and we look forward to helping you and your family move into the perfect home!