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Where to Start When Searching for a Home Online

Shot of a happy young couple relaxing in their living room using a digital tablet and laptop
These days, everyone starts searching home at the same place. Online.

Over the past twenty years, the process of searching for a home has changed drastically. Gone are the days of picking up your daily newspaper to see new homes on the market and in with the online search.

Searching online for a home has never been easier with sites like, Zillow and brokerage sites. But with each site updating their inventory at different times and an abundance of filters to use, searching online can be overwhelming.

Luckily we’re here to help and offer up our tips on how to start an online home search.


A buyer must do his or her due diligence on prospective neighborhoods to make the best real estate decisions. Being a good fit for the neighborhood you move to can make a tremendous difference on how much you love your home. You may find the perfect home online but its located 30 minutes outside of downtown and you’re used to walking everywhere.

Research the neighborhoods around town first to see where your lifestyle would fit best. If you don’t know what to look for in a neighborhood, take a moment to read our guide “What to Look for When Researching Neighborhoods” and then come back here.


So you’ve picked a couple of neighborhoods to look for homes in, now it’s time to think about what type of home you’re looking for.

When conducting your home search pay attention to the filters you’re using. Obvious filters such as price, square footage, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, etc. are a great starting point. But by using more specific filters you can really pinpoint your search to see relevant homes.

Some examples of advanced filters to consider are:

  • Electric vs. Gas heating
  • Garage vs. no garage
  • Finished basement vs. unfinished
  • Move-in ready vs. fixer-upper
  • Public water vs. well water
  • Does it have central air?
  • Is the property set-up for a generator?

If you are looking for a home don’t waste your time viewing pages & pages or results when advanced filters are there for to see exactly the homes you want to live in.

Set-up alerts

Now you’ve found the neighborhoods you like, and you know exactly what filters you’re going to use to search for a home. It’s time to get online and start searching.

The fall real estate season is typically slower with a lower amount of inventory in Ann Arbor but homes have continued to list & sell within a week of each other this fall.

The best way to make sure you can see these homes before they’re sold is to set up alerts. On our website you can save each search you create. Once saved, your search can send you email alerts letting you know instantly every time a new property hits the market that fits your filters.

Give yourself options and save yourself from the defeating feeling of finding your dream home only to see that it has already accepted an offer by setting up email alerts.

Whether you’re a first time buyer or this is your third time around, finding the next place that you’re going to call home should be fun. Don’t let a poor search process set you up for failure and take away the excitement of finding your dream home.

After finding a selection of homes that you can see yourself living in, give one of our agents a call. Our agents can furnish you with a wealth of local information and help you get a great deal on your next home.

Are you interested in living in the Ann Arbor area?

We would be delighted to help you find the perfect home! Sign up to receive real estate listing updates and connect with one of our knowledgeable agents.

We cover all of Washtenaw County including Chelsea, Dexter, Ypsilanti, and Saline. Give us a call at 734-747-7500. We’re also available via email at

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