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Zillow is by far the best website for buying a house. It’s easy to use, has almost every listing possible, and has filters to find exactly the kind of home you’re looking for.
The more knowledge you have about a potential home, the better. And there are a lot of other home buying resources that you can use along with Zillow to look for a home.
You can also get great information and guidance from a real estate agent, especially if they’re local and know the neighborhood well. Find a top agent in your area.
Best Websites for Buying a House
- Best overall: Zillow
- Best data for house hunters: Realtor.com
- Best foreclosure listings: Foreclosure.com
- Best comparison tool: Homes.com
- Best for hidden gems: HomeFinder
- Best auction site: Auction.com
Zillow: Best Overall
|• Access to most available listings, including for sale by owner (FSBO) properties|
• Extensive filtering system to find exactly what you’re looking for
• A great mobile app
|• Sometimes inaccurate home value estimator (“Zestimate”)|
• A website glitch that shows properties as available after they are under contract
• No screening system for partner agents
Zillow is the go-to home buying website. Millions of people visit the popular, free site every month to check out homes. You can use it to see what sale prices are like in your neighborhood. The site is free, but it makes money by selling user data to real estate agents, who will then contact you trying to market their services.
Zillow has all the information you need to know about a property. You can search for properties by city, neighborhood, address, zip code, or even just a general area on the map. The site also has a useful filtering system that sorts properties by price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, home features, and more. Zillow also has a great app that will notify you when new properties within your search parameters go up for sale.
Zillow’s “Zestimate” uses public property and tax records, sale prices of comparable homes in the area, and information about the property itself to calculate an estimated home value. But because it’s just an estimate, it’s not always going to be 100% accurate. Definitely do more research and ask a real estate agent before you make an offer on a home.
You can use Zillow to connect with real estate agents and mortgage professionals in the area. And if you’re considering buying a home that’s for sale by owner, Zillow is a fantastic way to find one.
Realtor.com: Best Data for House Hunters
|• Higher level of credibility than other sites|
• Database of over one million agents
• Up-to-date platform with nearly 100% of MLS-listed properties in the country
|• No FSBO listings|
• Glitches and poor user experiences on the app
Realtor.com is a great option for buyers interested in a deep dive into statistics and data.
The platform offers unique insights into neighborhood analytics, school data, and potential environmental risks. Realtor.com’s home value estimator, RealEstimate™, combines home price data from three different sources to calculate an estimated value. The site is free, but if you share your data, you may receive marketing outreach from real estate agents.
Realtor.com allows you to search its database of Realtors® real estate agents who are members of the National Association of Realtors. Realtors® have additional training and are held to the high ethical standard of the Real Estate Code of Ethics.
Realtor.com doesn’t include FSBO listings. So if you’re looking for FSBO listings, you should check out our other recommended house buying websites. Also, lots of users have reported problems with the Realtor.com app, so you might want to use the browser instead.
Foreclosure.com: Best Foreclosure Listings
|• Property database that’s updated twice daily|
• The largest online distressed listing platform
|• A monthly cost of $39.80 after the 7-day free trial|
• Narrow selection of homes
If you’re looking for a cheap home and aren’t afraid of fixing things up, Foreclosure.com is a great place to look.
The site shows new foreclosure listings before they hit the mass market. Competition can be high for low-priced homes, so Foreclosure.com can help you get ahead of other potential homebuyers.
The Foreclosure.com database contains pre-foreclosures, bankruptcies, foreclosure auction properties, lender-owned real estate, properties from government agencies, and properties from corporate sellers. You can search the site by address, city, state, or zip code to see pre-foreclosure and foreclosure listings in your desired area.
Homes.com: Best Comparison Tool
|• A platform that connects you directly with the listing agent|
• A collaborative approach allows you to work closely with your agent and co-shoppers
|• Lack of FSBO properties|
• Poor reviews of the mobile app
Homes.com collects data from the multiple listing service (MLS) and other real estate websites to help you compare potential homes easily.
This site is free to use and extremely collaborative. You can send listings, searches, and feedback to your agent and co-shopper. You can also take shared notes about the pros and cons of different properties.
HomeFinder: Best for Hidden Gems
|• Access to FSBO and off-market properties|
• Specific search capability for rent-to-own properties
|• Limited filter options|
• Sign-up requires you to agree to calls, texts, and voicemails
HomeFinder has a complete list of available homes, including for sale, rentals, FSBO, and rent-to-own properties. The site works like most other house buying sites, but it can help you uncover unique properties before they’re put on the market.
But the site only allows you to filter by price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and property type. So you might have to do a bit more digging than you would on Zillow. This site is free, but when you create an account, you have to agree to the terms of the site, which includes receiving calls, texts, and voicemails. All that communication might get to be a bit much after a while.
Auction.com: Best Auction Site
|• Leading online investment property marketplace|
• State-of-the-art auction technology
• Low home prices
|• Specific focus on auction properties|
• Complicated purchasing process
• Buyer’s premium
Auction.com is great for buyers and investors looking for a deal on bank-owned or foreclosed properties.
The site lists pre-foreclosure, foreclosure, short sale, and bank-owned properties nationwide that are up for auction.
And it allows you to save properties and get updates on homes you’re interested in. Auction.com hosts live online auctions with a support team to address any potential technical concerns. The technology makes the complex auction process a lot easier, and the company gives you a closing team to help you with the final paperwork.
Auctions can help you snag properties for low costs. But Auction.com also charges the winner a buyer’s premium — 5% of the bid or $2,500, whichever is higher.
If you’re not interested in distressed or foreclosed homes, this probably isn’t the place for you. Auctions can also be a lot more complicated than the traditional home buying process. So if you’re not experienced, you might want to go with another site.