We understand that most buyers search for homes on line. With that in mind, here is a list of helpful things to be aware of when looking for a home on the internet.

1.     CONDITION - Photoshop is a powerful tool that is often abused by listing agents and homes rarely look as nice in person.

2.    LOCATION - When a home states "great location", understand that "great" is a relative term. We suggest learning the specific neighborhoods so you know where you want to be located and use a tool like googlemaps to get a more accurate idea of the location of a home.

3.    ADVERSE CONDITIONS - Since a listing agent is trying to sell the home, they will never come right out and tell you that there are power lines or a highway located  directly behind the home. There may also be a commercial building right next door, conveniently cropped out of the front photo. Be weary of adverse factors that could greatly affect marketability of a home.

4.     STATUS - Don't assume the home you love on line is still available. Some sites show outdated information and don't clean up their site very often. To make sure a home is still an active listing, we recommend using a site that gets information directly from the local MLS ( Multiple Lisitng Service ).

5.     INACCURATE FEATURES - There is nothing worse than walking into what you thought was a 4 bedroom home only to find out it only has 3 real usable bedrooms.  A good agent will know these types of things so you don't waste your time.

6.     READ BETWEEN THE LINES - The copy and description written on a home is like that on a resume, often embellished. The listing agents job is to get buyers in the door so just be mindful.

7.     TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE - Remember, if a home looks too good to be true on line, there may be a reason.  While there are some great deals out there, if a home seems priced abnormally low compared to other similar homes, find out why.

8.     EXCEPTIONS TO THE RULE - Believe it or not, some homes actually look better in person. Some agents don't take great pictures or put much effort into their listings and fantastic homes can get overlooked. A good agent will be able to point out some hidden gems.

9.     PUBLIC RECORDS ARE SOMETIMES WRONG - Information that appears on a listing sometimes gets imported directly from public records---and is inaccurate. Do yourself a favor and double check things on your own.

10.   THE LISTING AGENT DOES NOT REPRESENT YOU -  While many on line listings encourage you to contact the listing agent directly with questions, that agent does not represent you. If you have any questions about a home you see on line, call your buyer's agent.

When all is said and done, viewing homes on line is a great way to start. However, a good buyers agent will preview homes on your behalf up front to save you valuable time and effort.

If you are serious about buying a home, hire a buyer's agent. It won't cost you money ( the seller pays real estate commissions ) and will be extremely helpful.