Technology & Tools

Popular Neighborhood Research Tools For Homebuyers

City buildings with map markers and search icons.

Whether you’re moving across the city or across the country, researching your ideal location is a vital component that many homebuyers overlook. Imagine finding your dream home, but come move-in day you realize that your new home is 20 miles away from your favorite grocery store. Or think of bringing your family into a high crime area, or being an outdoorsy person whose new home is nowhere near any parks or trails.

Valuable Apps & Websites For Buyers

Buying a new home is far more than just four walls and a roof. The following websites are excellent resources, whether you’re ensuring that your new neighborhood is in a top-rated school district or within walking distance to popular restaurants.

Foursquare.com

Arguably one of the most popular social website, Foursquare features user reviews of local restaurants, retail establishments, and other city-specific attractions. Many of these companies provide discounts when a potential customer checks into their location on the mobile app. Around 50 million people use Foursquare and its sister company, Swarm, each month, and platforms include desktop, mobile web, and mobile apps.

StreetAdvisor.com

Street Advisor, literally, allows you to “discover and explore the best places to live.” Users can search a specific place or browse different cities and neighborhoods, and with search options including type of people,...

FMLS vs GAMLS - Which Listing Service Is Better?

FMLS vs GAMLS logos in front of a businessman with boxing gloves.

Unless you’re a real estate agent, you may not have heard of the MLS (pertaining to real estate, not soccer), much less know what it stands for. Even if you do, you probably don't know there are two different Multiple Listing Services (MLS) serving Metro Atlanta; FMLS and GAMLS. However, if you’re in the market to purchase or sell real estate, it’s worth learning just a little bit about them to become a more educated home buyer or seller.

For consumers, understanding the characteristics of each MLS can help you determine the website(s) you should use to search properties, and may even play a role in which REALTOR® you decide to hire. In this article, I’m going to cover some differences & similarities between the two MLS providers and discuss what consumers may want to consider when searching homes for sale online.

FMLS vs GAMLS Comparison & User Tips

 

CLICK HERE to search FMLS & GAMLS listings...

The Truth About Online Reviews Of Real Estate Agents

People with speech bubbles containing stars for online reviews.

Does this story sound familiar? Joesph and Suzette McKinney are heading out for their weekly dinner date. Before leaving, they decide they’d like to try something different this week. Having been to nearly all of the restaurants in their immediate area, they go online to search for the best Italian restaurants within 10 miles; looking for something that isn’t too pricey.

With just a few clicks, they find a place on a popular website that has a perfect five star rating and is at the top of the list. It looks like an easy decision, so they plug the address into their navigation and head that way. Two hours later, after finishing their less than appetizing meals, the couple heads home.

On the way, they can’t help but talk about their poor experience, and they both wonder how others thought the food and service were so great. They run another search from their smartphone to check out a different review site. The feedback on the second website paints a much different picture. These reviews mirror the McKinney’s experience. They’re immediately skeptical of all the positive reviews on the first site they visited.

An online ad for a five star Italian restaurant.

Then they spot it… the “Ad” that appears in small text next to the restaurant name on the first site. This might explain the premium placement and all the great reviews! Unfortunately, this same scenario plays out with businesses in other industries as well… including real estate...

7 Tips To Improve The Effectiveness Of Your Online Home Search

 

Do Your Homework Before Getting Started

When it comes to searching homes for sale online, it’s easy to jump right in and start picking out potential dream homes. After all, starting a home search is exciting, and looking at homes can be a lot of fun. However, taking the time to understand the best search practices can save you a lot of time and help you find the perfect home much quicker. In this article, including the video below, I’ll discuss my best tips for maximizing the effectiveness of your online home search.

Essential Tips For Searching Homes Online

Tip #1 - Find a site (or two) that works for YOU.
Tip #2 - Save searches and use auto-notifications.
Tip #3 - Use Google Street View to explore potential neighborhoods.
Tip #4 - Utilize map search options and overlays.
Tip #5 - Learn how to properly use search filters.
Tip #6 - Ignore automated home...

Dwellr App Review & Demo (Video)

Dwellr app welcome screen on white iPhone in front of city background.

Need Help Determining Where To Live?

In the big scheme of things, living in the right location can have a huge impact on your quality of life. So the question is, where should YOU live? Things like jobs & salary, social groups, potential life partners and living conditions will likely determine how happy you are in the place you call home. Identifying these key factors upfront could help make your next move a successful one. So, if you’re not happy with where you’re currently living, the Dwellr app from the US Census Bureau may be able to help.

Using Dwellr To Determine Your Ideal City

The app is free to download and it only takes a few minutes to set up your profile (see video below). Based on your answers to 11 qualifying questions, you’ll be provided with up to 25 cities that match your lifestyle wants and needs. You can see basic information about each matching city and determine if it may fit your needs (on paper). Check out my video below for more information on setting up your account and how Dwellr works.

(Video) Setting Up Your Account & Viewing Matches

 
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