Can you buy a house online?

By: HowStuffWorks.com Contributors  | 

While it's not often that a buyer buys a house "sight unseen" over the Internet, you can learn useful information online. Many housing sites allow you to view a property online so you don't invest time on a property that's not appropriate for you. Online house buying is especially convenient if you are shopping for a property a great distance from your current home or your shopping time is limited.

It's possible to do a virtual home tour of a prospective property online through sites, such as Realtor.com or HomeGain.com. These sites offer panoramic views of several rooms of the house so you can check the houses out in advance. This saves time and aggravation, since you only actually visit the houses that seem appropriate to begin with.

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Online house searching is beneficial especially if you aren't familiar with the neighborhood where you are looking to purchase a house. You can find out a lot of information online, such as price range, realtors' addresses and phone numbers, local crime rates, cultural activities and schooling information. You can get a good overview of the neighborhood, helping you decide if the location is right for your needs.

In addition to viewing houses from afar and learning about a distant neighborhood, online housing sites help you determine your price range by calculating your financial details, such as salary and savings, with all the expenses involved in buying a home. They also maintain searchable databases of houses that fit your criteria. Even if you don't find a match immediately that fits your specifications, the sites will notify you as soon as an appropriate property becomes available. In addition, the online sites offer tips for buying and selling a house, narrowing down your requirements and guiding you along the way.

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Originally Published: Mar 30, 2011

Buy House Online FAQ

What is the best website for looking at homes on sale?
It's possible to do a virtual home tour of a prospective property online through sites, such as Realtor.com or HomeGain.com.
How do I sell my property online?
After hiring a real estate agent, the agent will list your home on websites like Zillow and Realtor. This allows people searching for properties to find yours and browse through pictures and descriptions.
Can you buy a house completely online?
While it's not often that a buyer buys a house "sight unseen" over the Internet, you can learn useful information online. It's especially convenient if you are shopping for a property a great distance from your current home or your shopping time is limited.
Is Zillow accurate?
According to Zillow, 57.3 percent of Zestimates are within 10 percent of the sales price. This means you should use Zillow as a starting point rather than an official appraisal.
Is it free to sell your home on Zillow?
Yes, owners can post a listing for free on Zillow.

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