Nearly 70 percent of us own our homes. As adults, we'll change residences more than 10 times. Our homes define us, shelter us, and support us. Whether you want to find a new home, sell an old home, fix up your home, insure it, fireproof it, decorate it, or refinance it, the Web has all the information you need to accomplish these tasks, and much more. The findingDulcinea Homes Guide will lead you to the Where, the Which, and the How Much for your heart's desire.
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Buying or selling your home is unlike any other financial transaction you'll make in life. Your home will probably be one of the most expensive things you ever buy, unless you plan to invest in a private tropical island. Also, choosing the right home or finding the right buyer for your home can be a long and drawn out process if you don't know where to look.
Whatever your stage in the home buying or selling process, from browsing open houses and the Sunday paper to signing the papers and unlocking your new future, there are Web resources that can help make your home buying or selling experience as convenient as possible.
- Some tips to aid you in the actual process of buying or selling:
- You don't pay a realtor if you are looking to buy a home; they are paid by the seller's proceeds (so they do make money, but it's included in the sale price).
- The abbreviation FSBO indicates "For Sale By Owner."
- The abbreviation MLS indicates a "Multiple Listing Service."
- You can search for and list properties on a number of different real estate sites and it never hurts to use more than one.
- Most brokers have Web sites where you can check out their listings, most provide photographs of their listings, and some even provide virtual tours of properties.
- Nationwide Web sites can be useful and often have a lot of fancy features, but if you know exactly where you want to live, consider searching for a local realtor site. They may be able to provide you with assistance or listings that you won't find at the larger sites.
- There are some online-only brokers, for example: www.foxtons.com or www.ziprealty.com (ZipRealty will share 20% of their commission with you if you buy with them and if you sell with them, you'll pay less commission). These online-only Realtors can offer lower costs to you because they have lower operating costs.
- If you type the phrase "real estate" and the city name you are looking for into Google's search box, your search results will be real estate listings.
- For decor advice for a home you are trying to sell, consider consulting the "Decorate Your Home" section in this guide.
For sites that do it all ...
will help you "Zestimate" the value of your home or a home you are thinking of buying. Search for the address and then use the "My Estimator" feature to adjust the details listed for the home (based on public records) according to any improvements or additions you've made and see if the estimated price goes up as well. You can also list your home for sale on the site, upload photos of the property, and find information on mortgages and refinancing your home.
HomePages' Real Estate 101
section will provide tips and explanations for the buyer or seller (like how to add value to your home or how MLS works). You'll be able to search listings of recently sold homes in your area, find neighborhood and city statistics, learn about mortgages, even sign up for regular e-mail updates of the listings in your area.
For Sale By Owner
offers advice on buying and selling properties. Look at properties in your area or sign up to be notified when new properties near you are put on the site so you don't have to check yourself. Find guides for buying and selling, cost-of-living comparisons, city profiles, reports about area schools, and crime stats for the places you are thinking about moving to.
is another site where you can list and look at properties for sale. You'll find mortgage and refinancing calculators, salary calculators, and city profiles.
has property listings, moving calculators, loan information, credit report information, movers, and local school reports. The site is a little ad-heavy, but overall has helpful information.
For a general overview of the real estate buying or selling process ...
ABCs of Real Estate
has plenty of useful calculators for home mortgages and the like. For buying a home, check out the "Home Buying Articles & Advice"
and for home selling tips, check out the "Guide to Selling a Home."
Not only will you find concise, step-by-step advice for buying and selling homes, you'll also find a glossary of real estate terms
. The calculators on this site also compare renting vs. owning, the cost of living, and the range of affordability. You can also estimate the loan for which you might qualify, and use the Super-Calculator to compare a proposed loan with your existing loan.
has a real estate law section that will answer questions about buying and selling a home like "What is a listing agreement?" or "What happens at 'closing'?"
The Federal Citizen Information Center
provides information about a number of housing topics including selling, financing, and home maintenance. You may have to pay a few dollars for some of the pamphlets or information packets, but there's also lots of free information on a number of topics on the homepage at www.pueblo.gsa.gov
For specific home buying tips and tools ...
Home Buying Tips
walks you through the process of buying a home. Find out everything from how much house you can afford to what to do after you make the purchase. Helpful calculators estimate your closing costs, the after-tax cost of owning a home, and monthly mortgage payments.
has tips and tools for owners and prospective home buyers on topics like financing, selling, buying, moving, constructing, even home and garden.
The American Society of Home Inspectors
has a page for home buyers and sellers with information about what to expect from a home inspection. Read the "Frequently Asked Questions" or take a look at the "Virtual Home Inspection."
For finding and listing properties ...
is part of the new wave of Web sites that provide function and community. This property search engine will scour the Web and provide you with a venue to discuss your property questions or concerns with other users.
is the official site of the National Association of Realtors. This site has a clean design, and an easy-to-use search function. You can get your search results in an interactive map form.
lists the homes that the U.S. government is selling. Browse homes as well as place bids to buy property on the site. You can also find commercial real estate and government land for sale here. This site has links to other government agencies with properties for sale. (If you want to see what else the government is selling, go to govsales.gov
has for-sale-by-owner houses and land. Search by state and get a list of properties sorted by city and price. Search results list city, price, area, bedrooms/bathrooms, and type of dwelling. Click on a property for details and seller contact information.
For real estate reading ...
is part of The Wall Street Journal network. Read tips for buying or selling your home or learn about trends in the market. Browse properties or realtors, and find articles about buying a second home, gardening, and remodeling your home.
is a blog about real estate that provides tips about the market, trends, or whatever else is on the author's mind. PressReal often provides helpful insight or recommendations for other online resources to aid in your online real estate endeavors.
Future of Real Estate Marketing
is a blog that keeps you up to date on the trends of the real estate market, particularly on the Web. You'll hear about the newest Web sites and get some insight on the latest generation of home buyers.
takes text messaging to the real estate world. Agents and sellers can sign up for the paid service. When potential buyers see a listing for a house they like, they can text message Cellulist and get more information about the property without actually calling the agent or seller.
calls itself "Real Estate in Reverse" and that's exactly what it is. Buyers create profiles and list what they are looking for in a home, and sellers can search the profiles to try and find a buyer. This site is quite new, but has interesting potential.
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