We use social media in our everyday lives to connect with friends and family, do business and find the best deals in town. But do you use it to find a new home?

When using social media to find a new home, it is best used as a supplement to more traditional forms of house hunting like Realtor listings, but it is not without its merit. Let us explore:

Pro: Easy Browsing

Thanks to realtors turning to social media to showcase their listings, social media has made browsing for homes easier than ever—especially if you are looking for a home in a specific area. Thanks to algorithms and other filters, you can narrow down your search and price range so you are not overwhelmed by a wide variety of options, helping you manage your expectations and stay on budget.

Con: The Home May Not Be All It Seems

The home you’re interested in may look good on paper, but unless you inspect it yourself you do not have any indication of what the actual state of the home is. Once you have made contact with the seller it is a good idea to ask for an in-person tour of the home. That way, you can see the home for yourself and ask questions about the home and its condition.

It is a good idea to have a trusted Realtor or inspector with you so you know what to look for.

Pro: You Can Connect With Other Homeowners In The Area

If the home you are interested in is in an area you are unfamiliar with, you can use social media to connect with others in the area and get information about the area. Be sure to ask about average home prices, property values, environmental hazards, walkability, public transportation, shopping, resale values and school districts. These factors help determine the value of a home as well as helping you discover if the area is right for your lifestyle.

Con: The Seller May Not Be Reputable

Who is selling the home? Before you dive into a potential purchase it is essential to verify who is selling the home and if they are reputable. Is it for sale by owner? Is it by a trusted Realtor?

Knowing this information is critical before you meet with the sellers or attempt to purchase the home. Why? It is an unfortunate truth that sometimes there are fake listings, meant to scam you out of personal information and hard-earned money. So before you send any money or sign anything, check the legitimacy of the listing through a reputable resource like the Multiple Listing Service and meet with the seller in person. If they refuse to meet or even talk to you over the phone and pressure you, move on!

Pro: Find Homes Whose Listing Has Expired

Another pro to using social media to purchase a home is that you can find homes whose listings on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) have expired. In doing so, you can find hidden gems that have gone to the wayside and perhaps get a good deal. Just remember to do your research to make sure the listing is legitimate.

In the end, social media is a great resource to find out what homes are available in your area and help you manage your expectations. However, it should be used with caution to avoid fraud.

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The above information is for educational purposes only. All information, loan programs and interest rates are subject to change without notice. All loans subject to underwriter approval. Terms and conditions apply. Always consult an accountant or tax advisor for full eligibility requirements on tax deduction.