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The Only Online Home Search Resources You’ll Ever Need

The Only Online Home Search Resources You’ll Ever Need

  • Claire O'Connor

In the last 20 years, the way we use the internet has changed a lot. You can make phone calls, schedule meetings, play video games… it’s a completely different landscape. Looking at Pacific Palisades homes for sale is truly no different. The National Association of Realtors estimates that in 2020, approximately 97% of home buyers used the internet in some capacity in their home search. That’s a lot of people, either by themselves or in conjunction with a Pacific Palisades real estate agent, using the internet for their home search.

With this influx of potential buyers come tools. A lot of tools. There are literally hundreds of websites, apps, and online programs that promise you the world. When you are looking at Santa Monica or Pacific Palisades homes for sale, you might feel overwhelmed. Choosing the wrong tools to use won’t just waste your time but can also make you miss good homes and opportunities.

Before you jump into the search for your new home, read this. These are the best tools and websites you can use to get the most out of your home search and spend less time looking and more time moving into your dream home.

MLS searches and notifications

As a buyer, you’re not going to have direct access to Multiple Listing Service (MLS). MLS is a tool that was created by realtors for realtors to see homes on the market. If a home is for sale to the public, it must be listed within the MLS. This isn’t exclusive to Santa Monica or Pacific Palisades homes for sale but across the United States.

Just because you can’t access MLS doesn’t mean it’s not an incredibly invaluable tool for you. In fact, if you only ever use one online tool for your home search, MLS should be it. Any good Pacific Palisades real estate agent will have access to MLS, but not all do! It’s not a requirement of the job, so make sure your agent uses this tool.

When they are setting up a search for your home requirements, your Pacific Palisades real estate agent can actually set up notifications for you. You can be notified any time a home that fits your specific requirements hits the market. This means that you don’t have to spend hours pouring over boring search results from questionable online sites to find Pacific Palisades homes for sale that meet your needs and, most importantly, miss out on brand new listings.

Despite the cooldown in the market right now, Pacific Palisades homes for sale are still incredibly desirable and aren’t just sitting around waiting for the perfect buyer. If you don’t act quickly, there is a good chance you’ll miss out.

Should I be using Zillow/Trulia/Realtor?

A lot of clients come to their Pacific Palisades real estate agent with listings they found online from these sites. The major rise in sites just like this means it’s more accessible than ever, and that’s great! However, it’s important to understand how these sites get this data.

The vast majority of the time, the data you see from sites like these that show Santa Monica or Pacific Palisades homes for sale are pulled from MLS. Only a small portion of these homes are listed by the Pacific Palisades real estate agent that is representing the home. You’re not going to have any new or different information than your realtor has because they have access to the source. These sites have done a great job marketing themselves, and for a buyer looking without an agent, they are good resources, but as soon as you have a Pacific Palisades real estate agent on your side you’re going to have a lot less need for them.

Property tax calculator

Maybe you’re not just looking specifically at Pacific Palisades homes for sale. Instead, you’re looking around Santa Monica, Ocean Park… anywhere in the general area that may have the homes you need. Where you live is going to heavily dictate how much you spend each year on property taxes.

Knowing what your property taxes will be may help determine what your budget is for each area. In an area with lower property taxes, you may be able to stretch your mortgage payment to balance it out. Before you meet with a Pacific Palisades real estate agent to set all this up, use an online property tax calculator. Smart Asset has a great one, but you can also use the Online Searches function of public record. Both are free and easy to use and can help you get a good idea of what you’ll be spending. Too many new buyers don’t calculate this into their yearly expenses!

Mortgage calculator

Once you know your property tax, you should look into a reliable mortgage payment calculator. Again, there are many on the market! Karl’s Mortgage Calculator isn’t much to look at, but it does a great job of laying out what you’ll pay each month and where the money goes. It’s more than just about what payment you can afford each month, so it’s important to come into a meeting with your Pacific Palisades real estate agent with these numbers. Your pre-approval from a bank for a mortgage isn’t enough to really get you an idea of what you’ll be spending month by month or where that money goes.

Pacific Palisades homes for sale aren’t cheap, so unless you’re paying for the home in cash, these numbers are vital. You never want to put yourself in a position where you have to back out of a home purchase because the numbers don’t make sense.

When you’re ready to buy

When you have made the decision to seriously look at Santa Monica or Pacific Palisades homes for sale, be sure to call Claire O’Connor. Claire is a California native and an experienced Pacific Palisades real estate agent. She has helped countless people navigate this intense seller's market and find their dream home faster and with less stress.

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