Begin House Hunting

The real estate search engines such as Zillow or Trulia can give you a specifics on demographic, maps/location and can provide a general idea of what other homes sold for. Sites like these are a fantastic tool you can use to familiarize yourself with where you actually want to buy a house, moreover where the deals are.

Do your online research while you’re working with your real estate agent. This way you can search for homes on the Internet and get the general idea of where you want to be as well as being on your real estate agents listing portal.

Begin your house hunting with accurate listing information

Your real estate agent has access to the local MLS (multiple listing services). The actual MLS is where the online real estate companies get their information from. There’s usually a 24-hour to 48-hour lag in response time from the time a property changes status in MLS to the time it actually hits the internet, meaning your real estate agent has accessed the most up-to-date information. As a home buyer, you should be taking advantage of that.

In fact, real estate agents pay several hundred hours per month to access the multiple listing services for your county, city/town or area. For example, you might see a property listed online that says “active” when you go ask your real estate agent about it, they might tell you the property party has an offer on it or the status changed to “pending.” This scenario would mean that someone else has put an offer on the property and you need to go back to your house hunting search.

When you are viewing a house for sale either in your real estate agent’s email portal or online, here are the statuses you might see for any given property.

“Active” houses for sale no other offers

“Contingent or Contingent Show” another offer has been accepted on the property, you can put a backup offer, but there is someone ahead of you already.

“Contingent No Show” another offer has been accepted and the property is not being shown.

“Pending” represents a property where the offer has been accepted and the transaction is about to close escrow.

“Withdrawn/Cancel” is the description of properties that have been withdrawn from the market place.

“Expired” likely won’t find properties online that show expired, but it means the listing agreement the seller had with the listing agent has expired, the property is no longer for sale.

“Sold” is a description given for properties that have been sold.

Home Buying Tip: you really only want to be looking at houses that show “active.” Remember to go off of your real estate agents e-mail portal, because that will ensure your home search is only giving you active property results.