Here at Cornerstone Capital, we pride ourselves in helping people achieve their dream of becoming home owners. While providing the best financial solution to buying a home is critically important, some may say it is not the most exciting part of buying a home. With that in mind, we wanted to use this blog as a platform to expand our support and help you with some of the more “fun” aspects of home ownership.
Everyone starts the home ownership journey by finding a home to buy, so why not start our blog there? Like all things internet, home search tools can seem overwhelming because there are so many options. Here, I will provide a quick guide to the 3 major home search tools so you can determine which to use to help find your dream home.
Zillow.com, Realtor.com and Trulia.com are the 3 biggest search tools out there. All 3 use MLS data to populate the home search results, which is important because you should see the same results across all 3 platforms. All show results in 2 formats, map view and list view, while providing standard filters to narrow your search (price, type of home, rent vs. buy, age of home, square footage, etc.) All 3 allow you to create accounts and save homes so you can do comparisons, track when homes come off the market and when they have price changes. There are a few differences between them, which depending on your criteria, could be very important to you.
Zillow – Zillow has 24+ apps available supporting all major platforms – so if you want to take your search mobile, they will have a solution. They also let you filter on how long the home has been on Zillow and by the Great School ratings – both can be very helpful filters.
Realtor – On realtor.com, I could not find a filter for how long a home has been on the market, nor could I locate a feature to search based on school ratings. However, Realtor.com’s app does allow you to search for specific school districts. Realtor.com does limit the number of pictures you can view on each home to 36, whereas Zillow and Trulia show as many as the listing agent has provided.
Trulia – Trulia.com provides the same filters as Zillow but also provides some other interesting community information right in the map view, such as demographic information, amenities and crime density. Trulia also has neighborhood guides and mobile apps for Apple and Android platforms.
Bottom line, all 3 search tools have similar features, with differences that could be very important to finding your perfect home. Try a few to see if one of the interfaces appeals to you and then start searching!