If you’re searching for homes for sale in Yorba Linda or another Southern California city, some of the most popular search strategies can lead you astray.

Before investing your valuable time in a potentially dead-end approach, let’s explore three of the most commonly used ways of finding homes for sale.

1. Finding Homes for Sale on Zillow or Trulia

Many buyers start their search using these and other popular real estate websites. The general information they provide can be valuable, especially if you aren’t familiar with the home-buying process.

When it comes to the details, however, these sites can provide inaccurate or misleading information.

Real estate agents add their listings to online search sites, and in a perfect world, they remove them when the property has sold. Sometimes, however, listings are not removed for months or even years. As a result, you might fall in love with a home for sale that isn’t even available.

Beware especially of the home value estimates found on Zillow (called “Zestimates”) and other sites of this nature. These figures are derived from basic calculations of tax record data.

They are unable to consider any details that influence true value, such as quality of finishes, desirability of the homesite or whether the property was sold in a state of distress.

2. Using Craigslist for Buying a Home

Craigslist is an amazing resource for buying and selling almost anything – except real estate.

Searching the CL real estate categories will quickly enmesh you in an overwhelming number of ads. The ability to refine your search is limited, and CL requires no standardization of data.

But the most compelling reason for skipping Craigslist when searching homes for sale is the number of scammers and criminals that target CL real estate listings. Particularly ruthless, these scammers take advantage of the overwhelming draw of an incredible deal. Sadly, both home buyers and renters are swindled every day by CL real estate scams.

If you want to use Craigslist for your home search, make a list of the property ads that catch your eye and ask your own agent to verify that they are legitimate homes for sale.

3. Chasing Homes for Sale by Owner (FSBOs)

Many potential home buyers believe they can save money by purchasing directly from the seller. Unfortunately, these risky transactions provide little opportunity for savings while posing some significant risks.

For example, how will you know what the property is truly worth? How will you ensure that your contract is legal and binding? How will you verify that the home has a clean deed and that the homeowners association dues are paid? How will you be sure that the seller won’t simply abscond with your money? How will you know for sure that the home seller is the true owner of record?

These are just some of the potential pitfalls that can cost you time and money. If you find an FSBO listing that interests you, you can protect yourself by involving your Realtor®. In most cases, your agent can help work out the details that are acceptable to both sides while still compensating your agent for his or her representation.

Of course, the easiest and safest way to find the house of your dreams is with the help of an experienced Realtor®. It doesn’t cost you a penny, because sellers pay all real estate commissions. The experienced agents of the Edie Israel Team are experts in the Southern California market. The boutique level of personal service we provide our clients makes this complex and potentially frustrating process a dream.

Contact us today for a customized list of homes for sale in your community of choice.