Apps Like Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com Make Home Searches Easier

George Lopez |

House graph

Smart home buyers get preapproved before they search

As more and more home buyers turn to their mobile devices to help them search for a new home, creators of home search engines like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com are taking their programming to a new level. Just like Facebook utilizes sophisticated algorithms to determine the content cycle of your News Feed, companies like Zillow are starting to track their clients’ home search habits and preferences, so they can develop their own, reported Mashable.com. The end result? By utilizing artificial intelligence, these Internet providers are trying to create an ultra-efficient, futuristic home search process–with 3D goggles not that far behind.

But not so fast. In their quest to outdo each other, software developers are taking the human element completely out of the equation, and in the process may inadvertently be doing harm to consumers. The smartest way to buy a home is not just to download a simple application. Instead, you need to focus on assembling the best human team possible—a good mortgage lender, a realtor, and yourself.

Smart home buyers know that in order for their offer to be competitive, they should get preapproved by a reputable mortgage lender like James B. Nutter & Company first. “I worry that these software developers are going about it all backwards,” said Jim Nutter, Jr, President & CEO of James B. Nutter & Company. “We see it all the time. Customers get super excited about a house they’ve just seen on their phone, but they haven’t reviewed their financial situation or gotten preapproved yet. By the time they get their ‘ducks in a row’, it can be too late.”

Smart home buying not only involves thinking about your budget and understanding how much house you can afford, but it also involves having a mortgage lender review your credit report for errors, or worse, potential identity theft. In today’s era of large data breaches, where incorrect or even false information on a credit report is not out of the ordinary, even the most creditworthy home buyers can miss out on their dream home if they don’t get preapproved for their home loan first.

At long last, the benefits of technology have finally reached the housing market. Home search apps like Zillow, Trulia, and Realtor.com are here to stay, and with good reason. They’re fast, convenient, and fun to use. For those families who are relocating to a new city and are trying to narrow down their home search, these apps can be invaluable. But be careful not to remove the human element altogether. There’s certainly no substitute for a good realtor with local knowledge. In today’s fast-moving housing market where multiple offers are seemingly the norm, smart home buying starts with choosing a good mortgage lender.


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