Buying a home is a long process. From calculating what you can afford and researching neighborhoods, to making an offer and moving in—it can be difficult to manage. Fortunately, many online tools and resources are available to help you from the initial search to the final move-in.
The Multiple Listing Service (MLS) makes it easy to view available homes in your area. Most of the major real estate sites also have apps for your smartphone or tablet, which bring their own benefits. You can use location services to find homes in your area, request text alerts when new homes are listed and save notes.
Make sure your perfect home is in the perfect location. School rating sites such as GreatSchools enable you to view school ratings in the area by address or zip code. Sites may include reviews from parents, teachers, and students, rankings determined by experts, graduation rates, and student-to-teacher ratios. Neighborhood rating sites such as NeighborhoodScout can provide crime statistics, unemployment rates, the median real estate price, population density, common languages spoken, available modes of transportation and more.
3. Real Estate Assistance Programs: RealtyPlus®
A real estate assistance program can help you manage the entire moving process, whether you're buying, selling or both. With RealtyPlus®, you receive a referral to an experienced real estate agent from nationally recognized brokers, a personal real estate coordinator to provide guidance throughout the process, plus, you can get cash back and special moving discounts. RealtyPlus® is a free service offered to Navy Federal members.
4. Agent Review Sites: Trulia
You want a real estate agent who is dependable and knowledgeable. Learn who those real estate agents are by checking agent review sites such as Trulia’s agent directory. You’ll commonly find reviews from buyers and sellers, a map of the real estate agent’s current and previous listings and sales, a short bio for the agent, his or her years of experience, and contact information.
5. Homebuyer’s Guide: Navy Federal’s MakingCents
Whether you’re a first time homebuyer or an experienced veteran, everyone can use a little guidance through the complex home-buying process. Our homebuying track can guide you through the entire process—from the initial prep work through closing.
6. Mortgage Calculators: Navy Federal Credit Union
Unsure what your price range should be? Wondering what mortgages you’re eligible for? Confused about the differences between fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages? Interactive online calculators, such as those offered by Navy Federal Credit Union, can help you answer these questions. Using your current income and expenses, you can determine what monthly payment you can afford. By calculating your debt-to-income ratio, you’ll also develop an understanding of how much you may be able to borrow.