If you’re looking for the best home buying sites as a prospective homeowner, you’ve come to the right place. Today, there are dozens of real estate websites and apps, all of which claim to be the best of the best. But how can you be sure that the site you are using will help you find the home of your dreams?
The best online home buying websites tend to have a few shared characteristics, like user-friendly interfaces and plenty of filters that help you narrow your results. Beyond these standard features, though, are the more sophisticated options. From crime maps to neighborhood demographics, these features take home buying to the next level.
Zillow has been one of the top home buying websites for more than a decade. Not only is it great for buyers, but has a load of extensive features for sellers and landlords as well. Zillow was first established in 2006 and has since built its platform across the nation.
It is one of the best home buying sites for folks who want to explore all of their options. Yes – all of their options. Zillow’s network of more than 135 million properties virtually guarantees you the widest array of properties for sale around the country.
You can even get preapproved from mortgage lenders directly from the Zillow website, making it a one-stop shopping experience. And, if you need some more information about the home buying process, you can read through hundreds of “how-to” blogs and informational blurbs to get a better idea of how it works.
Aside from good websites for buying houses, there are a handful of popular apps as well. Trulia is one of the most downloaded real estate apps on the Apple and Google Play stores, and it isn’t hard to see why.
Trulia has nearly every criterion of local information you could ask for when searching for a new home. If you prioritize safety, you may benefit from using Trulia’s crime map, which highlights recent documented crimes in certain areas. There are several other maps you can use during your search, including:
- Schools, which show school ratings by area.
- Shop and eat, which displays local restaurants and grocery stores.
- People stats, which display demographic information about a given area, including median age, household income and marital status.
Don’t want to use the Trulia app? No worries. You can use Trulia from a laptop or desktop computer and use all the same awesome features.
Another one of the best online home buying websites in 2023 is Realtor.com. This site is among the oldest compared with its competitors, getting its start in 1996. It is affiliated with the National Association of Realtors, making it one of the most accurate and reliable sites out there. It includes listings from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS).
Its “Find a Realtor” feature is handy and allows you to read Realtor reviews in your area. You can also use the map to search in a customs area, outlining a map with the touch of your finger. Like other real estate websites, you can narrow your results by property type, sale type, lot size and more.
You cannot use Realtor.com to list a home for sale, so the site is best for prospective homeowners or renters.
Redfin is similar to Zillow and Trulia; you can search for homes using a map or list view and read through various details on the same page. It also has information about an area’s “walkability” and “bikeability”, providing both walking and biking scores for folks who enjoy these activities.
Good websites for buying houses should give you options, and that’s exactly what you get with Redfin. If you purchase a house through the site using a Redfin Realtor, you can receive part of the commission as a refund through the Redfin Refund program.
Redfin’s search engine also incorporates a variety of local information to provide information as accurately as possible. This includes notes from other brokers and agents, which helps the prospective buyer during the research phase. The more information, the more informed the buyer can be.
Some of the best online home buying sites specialize in certain types of properties, like Foreclosure.com. This site is one of the best platforms for prospective investors or homeowners looking to cash in on an affordable home. When a home goes into foreclosure, it is commonly listed below market value to attract buyers for a quick sale.
You can benefit from learning everything you need to know about buying a foreclosed home in one of the hundreds of how-to articles. The website prioritizes education and has several resources for buyers interested in learning more about the buying process.
It is also one of the largest online listings for foreclosed homes nationwide. The site features more than 750,000 foreclosure, pre-foreclosure, bankruptcy and tax lien listings across the country. You can use this website free for seven days but must pay a monthly fee after the trial period ends.
HomeFinder is one of the top home buying websites for those who want to search for homes listed by owners. It has a “for sale by owner” (FSBO) filter that displays one of the largest databases of homes listed by owners, not real estate companies. There are numerous benefits to purchasing a house listed by an owner, such as eliminating the middleman (i.e. the real estate agent).
Other websites and apps may include this feature, but none are as expansive as HomeFinder. You may find homes for sale by owners on this website that are not listed elsewhere, giving your primary access to these homes.
Speaking of for sale by owner, why not check out FSBO.com to see more of these listings? FSBO only lists homes that are for sale by owners, so you won’t see results from homes listed by real estate agents. It’s free to use this site for seven days, but you’ll need to pay a monthly prescription after your trial ends.