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8 Best Websites for House Hunting: A First-Time Homebuyer's Guide

Image Source: Realtor.com® The journey of buying a home is an exciting one, but it can also be challenging without the right resources. While you can always hire a Realtor to curate a list of...

for sale sign in front of home Image Source: Realtor.com®

The journey of buying a home is an exciting one, but it can also be challenging without the right resources. While you can always hire a Realtor to curate a list of homes for you, there are numerous house-hunting websites available that can help you identify properties for sale. In this article, we will introduce you to the eight best websites for house hunting, specifically tailored for first-time homebuyers.

What Is the Best Website for House Hunting?

To find your dream home, you need to know where to look. Here, we have compiled a list of the top eight house hunting sites for you to explore during your home search.

1. Realtor.com®

Realtor.com® is the official website of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), helping millions of first-time homebuyers across the nation find their perfect home. With its user-friendly interface, this platform makes it easy to sort through available properties near you.

What sets Realtor.com® apart as the best website for house hunting is its attention to the small details that matter to a first-time homebuyer. Each listing includes the most up-to-date information from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), as well as an overview of the home's price history. Additionally, you can benefit from the Buyer Cash Rewards program, which rewards homebuyers with 0.3% of the purchase price when buying a home through Realtor.com®.

Moreover, if you're still in the early stages of the homebuying process, Realtor.com® can connect you with trusted mortgage lenders to help you get preapproved for a mortgage.

2. Zillow

Zillow allows you to explore millions of listings online without any hassle. Similar to Realtor.com®, this platform lets you filter your search and connect with real estate professionals. One unique feature of Zillow is the Zestimate, which provides an estimate of a property's current market value based on data from the public, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and user submissions. However, keep in mind that this value can fluctuate depending on the housing market and other factors.

3. Homefinder.com

Previously known as homescape.com, Homefinder.com offers an interactive online experience for homebuyers to find available properties. This website provides easy access to homes for sale, nearby foreclosures, off-market listings, and rent-to-own properties. While its capabilities may be somewhat limited compared to other house-hunting websites, Homefinder.com offers visibility into homes that might not be found elsewhere.

4. Redfin

Redfin aims to redefine the real estate market to favor buyers at every stage of their homebuying journey. All of their listings include information from the MLS, as well as transportation details for those without a vehicle.

By working with a Redfin Agent, you can benefit from their guidance throughout the process. They can help you with showings, find properties within your budget, and provide insights specifically tailored for first-time homebuyers. The best part? The seller typically covers the agent's commission, and Redfin listings disclose the percentage that will be covered. Additionally, if you're interested in a property in a hot housing market, you can see how many other buyers are looking at the same property.

5. Trulia

Trulia, a part of Zillow, is an excellent website to explore if you're looking for available homes in a specific area and want to know what other community members say about the neighborhood. You can access local information and explore mortgage options to determine the type of loan you qualify for. Trulia shares similar capabilities with Zillow, but it also offers a couple of unique features. For example, you can view LGBT Local Legal Protections to see how the neighborhood supports the LGBT community. Additionally, each listing includes recent testimonials from local pet owners, giving you an idea of how pet-friendly the neighborhood is.

6. Homes.com

Homes.com provides a simplified way to find properties for sale in your desired location. The information displayed on each listing is pulled from the MLS and is regularly updated to reflect the most relevant details. If you want to learn more about the neighborhood from local experts, you can easily contact nearby real estate professionals directly through the site. Homes.com also offers options for Veteran's Affairs loans (VA), making it an excellent choice for veterans and their families.

7. Estately

Estately is one of the newer house-hunting websites, which became part of Realogy in 2018. What sets Estately apart is its focus on connecting homebuyers with the best real estate agents in any given area. All the agents on their site work on the buyer's side, ensuring a simple and smooth homebuying experience for all. While not all information on the platform is updated immediately, you'll find a wealth of information about each property.

8. ForSaleByOwner.com

ForSaleByOwner.com, established in 1999, provides resources for both sellers and buyers to make the homebuying experience seamless. When searching for a home online, you can easily sort through different types of properties, including single-family homes, condos, townhouses, and more. If you're considering buying a house without a Realtor, this website allows you to directly contact the seller to navigate the process yourself.

Find Your Dream Home on Realtor.com®

Ultimately, the best website for house hunting depends on your individual preferences and needs. Whether you're looking for extensive neighborhood information, mortgage options, or a simplified search experience, there is a website for you. However, regardless of your choice, Realtor.com® is ready to assist you every step of the way.

Visit Realtor.com® today to start your homebuying journey. Find a Realtor near you, connect with a mortgage lender, and more. Happy house hunting!