A few weeks ago we wrote a post about finding homes for rent. This week we will take a look at four of the top Google search results for homes for sale in Ventura County. With the high housing prices in Southern California, home ownership may not be the easiest thing to achieve for many people. But for those that qualify for a loan and can afford the payments, there are definite pros to owning a home versus renting one. Advantages include building equity, gaining tax advantages, having stable payments (if you have a fixed interest rate loan), knowing you have a stable location to live, and having a sense of pride in being part of a community. If you are in the market for homes for sale, below is Part 1 of our review of a few of the websites we recommend beginning your search with.
Homes for Sale in Ventura County
Not to sound like a broken record, but Craigslist has been discussed in more than one of our posts. Just to reiterate, if you are looking for homes for sale, you want to look in the “Real Estate – By Broker” or “Real Estate – By Owner” subcategories. And as always, make sure you do your due diligence when using Craigslist.
Zillow has become one of the more popular websites to find homes for sale, partially due to their famous (or infamous) Zestimates, which we will discuss in a bit. You can start your search by filtering whether you want to look for townhomes, condos, and houses, as well as apartments, manufactured homes, and land. You can then further refine your search parameters by number of bedrooms and bathrooms, price, year built, size, etc. If you have a good idea of what kind of home you are looking for, these filters will allow you to easily narrow your search. Zillow’s map feature allows you to search for homes for sale in specific areas of town. You can use this to focus your search on certain neighborhoods if this the main criteria you are looking for.
For those buyers who rely on Zestimates to determine what a home is worth and what you should offer, this may not be the best idea. There has been much discussion over the past few years about the validity of Zestimates and if they are causing more harm than help. This LA Times article gives an overview of the errors Zestimates may contain. Much more information about Zestimates can be found by doing a quick google search and reading any of the number of news articles written on the subject.
Homes.com is a well-built website that is very easy to use and offers a lot of functionality. The top menu offers many options to quickly get you into the search function that you are looking for. The filter capability is top notch and you can sort your search by listings, photos, or map. Along with searching for homes for sale, the website also has a page to get more information about home values. In addition, there is a mortgage calculator and a page to find mortgage lenders in your area. Finally, there is a page dedicated solely to foreclosures for anyone who may be looking for a foreclosure to purchase to either live in or use as an investment property.
One of our favorite websites to search homes for sale is Redfin. Redfin operates a little bit different than any other real estate website out there. Besides being an online real estate database, the Redfin Company also offers brokerage services. This means that Redfin makes money when homes are bought or sold on their website using the company’s real estate agents. Redfin employs the agents and pays them a direct salary. This is in contrast to most other brokerages that compensate realtors based off of commissions from real estate transactions. Redfin also pays its agents bonuses based on customer satisfaction and reviews. The real estate agents are reviewed after every real estate transaction and these reviews are posted under the agent’s profile on the company’s website. Redfin prides itself on only pulling housing data from the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information as possible.
Redfin’s search function is nothing special or fancy, but it has everything needed to find homes for sale. You can even sort by days listed on Redfin or only for homes that have had a price reduction. The main reason that we enjoy using Redfin is the accuracy of the data. For those home shoppers without direct access to the MLS, you may find that Redfin will give you the best information outside of what your realtor can provide to you.
These are just a few of the websites out there that are available to those looking for homes for sale. In a later post, we will review some of the other top sites that you can use to help you in your home search. It goes without saying that searching for homes for sale online is only part of the equation. This should allow you to get a sense of what home prices are in the areas or neighborhoods that you are looking to purchase in, but it is still recommended that you work with a real estate agent when you are ready to purchase. None of the websites listed above (or any others that we have come across) offer users all of the information that is available to realtors through the MLS. Not only that, but a good real estate agent will usually have more insight into your local real estate market due to the fact that they are looking at the information on a daily basis. That being said, doing some research on your own beforehand will give you a leg up on other buyers who are relying completely on a realtor for any and all information.
This concludes Part 1 in our series about websites you can use to find homes for sale on. Please stay tuned in the coming weeks for Part 2 in the series and more great information about real estate in Ventura County.