These Websites Have Made It Easier To Buy and Sell Homes Online

From Apartments.com to Zillow, buyers and sellers have myriad digital options when it comes to residential real estate.

Gone are the days of working exclusively with a real estate agent face-to-face—even the most traditional buyers and sellers at least look online to gauge the market value of their home against the neighborhood. As tech-focused millennials increasingly start families or move up in their careers and buy homes, the residential real estate landscape has had to adapt. And adapt it has.

ESTATENVY compiled 10 websites that have made it easier to buy and sell homes online. Read on!

Zillow + Trulia

Zillow (which owns six buying/selling platforms including the popular Trulia) is the real estate platform leader—no doubt you’ve seen ads for one or more Zillow Group sites on your devices. Zillow lets users search to buy, rent or sell homes and apartments, and users can filter by city, state or mortgage rate. Users can even potentially get pre-qualified by a local lender through the platform: a quick click on “get started” opens a landing page with questions like “are you a first-time homebuyer?” and “do you have a realtor?” The questions are quick to answer and the site curates a list of possible properties as a result.

Trulia works similarly, but the interface is more image-based and the sorting criteria varies slightly. Perhaps because of the prevalence of images, Trulia has emerged as a go-to site for apartment rentals.

Redfin

Like Zillow and Trulia, Redfin boasts definite name recognition (and is an older company, having been founded in 2004).

Service specialist with Redfin, Michaela Morales, said that our world is a digital world, and that platforms like Redfin drive the real estate industry.

“Generally, technology has changed the industry in a big way,” Morales said. “For example, Redfin was the first to invent map-based real estate search in the U.S., with an eye towards transparency and passing savings onto the consumer. We update listings every five minutes on Redfin’s site and app so customers can see them first, act quickly on homes that they like and instantly book agent tours online.”

Morales also spoke to what she called “the rise of the iBuyer”: “An iBuyer is a real estate company that will make an instant offer on a home. iBuyers use statistical modeling algorithms —known as AVMs—to evaluate your home’s worth based on comparable market data. With iBuyers, sales can close in under two weeks, in contrast to the typical listing process that can take months. After buying the home, the iBuyer will then repair and try to resell it for a profit.”

Homes.com

Homes.com shares a similar layout to that of Zillow—the user interface is heavily image-based—but on Homes.com, users see a feed of 16 of the latest listings in their area, as well as the name of the listing agent.

Realtor.com

Realtor.com allows users to buy, sell or rent, but also features relevant articles on industry trends and home improvement techniques. Similar to Zillow, visitors to realtor.com can answer a short series of questions to learn if they’re pre-approved for a home-buying loan.

Chief Product Officer for realtor.com, Chung Meng Cheong, emphasized that buying a home, is one of the biggest financial decisions many people will make in their lifetime. Given this, Cheong said that buyers do best to supplement use of websites with the expertise of an actual agent: “Real estate professionals offer hands-on knowledge you can’t find online from [their] expertise on a local market, the transaction process and negotiating skills.”

“Today, the home-buying process begins online and on your mobile device,” Cheong said. “According to the National Association of Realtors, 95 percent of people start their home search online and it’s where nearly half of buyers first see the home they ultimately purchase. Online websites and apps, like realtor.com, allow you to shop for homes and get the information you need to make an informed real estate decision anywhere, anytime.”

Cheong continued: “Technology has not only put information at consumers’ fingertips, [but] it’s also made consumers expect an end-to-end solution when they search for services, and home-buying is no exception. This is pushing the industry to rethink its value proposition. Today’s consumers expect immediate responses, and they are looking for real estate professionals who can add value beyond what they can find online.”

Apartments.com

It should be noted that apartments.com does also list homes and condos, but only for rental. The website reads the user’s location and uses images and search filters tailored to the user’s city. Options like “condo living” or “be close to work” let users filter by lifestyle preference in addition to rent range.

Opendoor

While visitors can buy homes via Opendoor, the site’s primary draw is selling (the homepage reads “Sell your home to Opendoor so you can skip the hassle of listing, showings and months of uncertainty.”) Users type their home address into a search bar to find the relative offer price for their home. Currently, Opendoor only services certain metro areas, with a number in Texas, Florida and California. See the full list here.

ForSalebyOwner.com

ForSalebyOwner works like OpenDoor—it’s intended to help homeowners sell their home without having to work with an agent. Users can download a free step-by-step selling checklist or add a Pro Pricing tool if they’d like feedback from a licensed professional.

RealtyTrac

RealtyTrac is a website that lists foreclosed homes so that interested buyers can jump on properties quickly. The site also keeps updated data on foreclosures across the country, providing useful information on the national housing market.

NeighborhoodScout

According to the website, NeighborhoodScout provides “respected, comprehensive real estate reports with objective data to reveal the truth about any property in any location.” Users do need to sign up with an account to use the platform.

Owners.com

Developed specifically for homeowners who don’t want to split a commission with an agent, Owners.com walks users through getting pre-approved for a mortgage, listing their home and closing. Users who encounter questions can still use the platform to access “professional real estate advice and support.”