real estate: buying, selling, renting, etc.

Ready to find your first home, or in the market for an upgrade? You’re on the right track -- we’ve got plenty of real estate advice for how to handle the house hunt, manage your mortgage, and how to tackle new home to-do’s. Our easy-to-use tools and helpful tips will help ease your way into a new place. Looking for a place to live forever, or an opportunity for real estate investing? Search thousands of listings near you with our home finder tool. Once you spot a few you like, browse our local pages to find a real estate agent who can help make your home-owning dreams a reality. Want even more help than that? Don’t worry, we’ve got all the basics of buying your first home. Use our mortgage calculator to find out how much house you can really afford. We can help you sort out the pros and cons of condos and co-ops versus houses. Learn what all those real estate terms really mean, and how to find the best interest rate on your mortgage. There’s advice and tips for every step of the way, from hitting open houses to making an offer. You can also find tips on selling your home and on real estate investing. And when you need a pick-me-up or a space to vent, you can chat with other Nesties and share real estate advice, tales from the house hunt, and more. From your first phone calls to putting up the sold sign, we’re here for you!

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Find Your Dream Neighborhood Online

The first place to kick off your search is…in your living room. Surfing on the web breaks down a lot of walls—and miles—between you and your potential new home. But you need the right tools to help you find the right neighborhoods. Here’s how to start:

Map It Out

First, you’ll need to pinpoint your target dream market and then look at the adjacent up-and-coming neighborhoods. These spots are where you’re more likely to score some deals. “As we grow as a population, people grow adjacent to those affluent neighborhoods. Towns next to those nice neighborhoods will become identical over time,” says Marty Frame, general manger of CyberHomes.com, a site where you input a ZIP code to find info about that town as well as the surrounding neighborhoods.

Maximize Move.com

Sure, it’s a great site to find homes, but you can also scope out the area through their “Moving” section under “Explore My New Community.” There, you can check out mortgage rates, home values, and market conditions specific to your potential nabes. Move.com is affiliated with Realtor.com too, which puts potential new homes—and their prices—right on your browser.

Test the Town Website

Once you narrow down your choices, check out what the town has to say for itself online. Look for a calendar of events, dining and shopping guides, and, if the town has a chamber of commerce, ask them to mail you some information about the area.

Hit the Online Forum

You can find this on the town website or on a local newspaper’s website. It’ll tell you what people really think as opposed to town-approved content. Also check out Walkscore.com, which rates towns on a scale of one to 100 and points you to the major grocery stores, restaurants, and parks around town.

Read the Report Card

According to the National Association of Realtors, 35 percent of home buyers say that schools influence their purchase decisions, and for good reason: Quality schools equal higher real estate value, so check out Greatschools.net to get a report card on local schools. Even if you’re not planning to have kids, the performance of your new nabe’s school will affect resale value.

Tune Into News Radio Online

You can’t always go by mileage when you figure out your commute, so get the dirt on traffic by tuning in online to the local news radio station—you know, the one that does traffic every 10 minutes. It’ll give you a good idea of how bad it really is and what your real-time commute would most likely be.
 

Once you find your new home...

Show off! Submit photos to be in The Nest Magazine
Get in good with your neighbors
Find decor ideas for your new space

-- Jen A. Miller

See More: Buying a Home , Real Estate , Real Estate Q&A