Red Flags When Searching for Homes Online

Hi There Future Homeowner,

Are you starting to search for homes online? It may be hard to tell what’s a real deal, what’s too good to be true, and what isn’t a deal at all. Here are 3 red flags to watch out for when searching for homes online.

ONLY ONE EXTERIOR PHOTO

It could mean that the house is a major fixer, or there could be an uncooperative tenant or some other reason preventing interior access. People want to show off a beautiful home. So, if there are no interior photos included, there’s a reason.

PRE-FORECLOSURE ON ZILLOW

There’s a misconception that Zillow only shows homes that are listed for sale. But, you can pull up any address whatsoever on Zillow, for sale or not, and get basic public information like number of bedrooms, bathrooms, and square feet. Homes with the tag “pre-foreclosure” that you find on Zillow are not actually on the market. A “pre-foreclosure” label on Zillow is simply reporting that a notice of default has been filed on that address, not that it is for sale

HIGH DAYS ON MARKET

What counts as high days on market? It depends on the area. Here in L.A. County, homes are selling in 1 – 2 weeks, so if a home has been on for longer than a month it’s worth investigating what’s going on behind the scenes. It could be as simple as the home is over-priced. But, it can be more complicated like a significant defect in the building structure. There’s even the possibility that something is the seller’s personal situation has changed making the sale more complicated. High days on market almost always signal a problem.

Exploring online is a great way to get started, but nothing replaces the expertise of an area expert to help you navigate these red flags and other pitfalls. Our team is composed of 5 Realtors covering all of Los Angeles County from San Fernando Valley down to San Pedro. From the coast all the way inland to San Gabriel Valley. For a hand scrubbed list of homes that match your criteria and needs, DM the city or cities you’re considering for your next home.

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