You are in the market for a luxury home and find yourself with some time on your hands one Holiday weekend. You pick up your tablet and do a search on luxury real estate for the city where you live. Google provides you with its usual list of possible choices. As with any Google search, however, you are not sure where to start. You know you need to find possible homes to have an agent (what agent will that be?) show you. You also need to find a different lender for your next home since the last one let you down. You are also not sure about which neighborhood, or schools. Once you get the house, you will need someone to help you put your own touch to the property. Where do you start?
Luckily, we have compiled this handy guide of seven incredibly useful online tools for you to use when searching for luxury real estate, whether it is a new “forever” home or you are looking for a nice second home as a weekend getaway. Each of these tools will help you make the necessary decisions for your next luxury home.
When you are done reading over these tools, be sure to contact us if you need assistance in finding your next luxury home. We have sold over 700 homes in our time in real estate. We can help you with your next home as well.
When searching for a luxury property online, you will get a wide variety of possible portals to utilize. Zillow is always a valid option when searching for any luxury property. Its interface straightforward, but the ability to search for specifications important to luxury real estate clients is lacking compared to other available tools. You have some nice search features on some local brokerage websites, but these sites tend to limit their searches to their own listings. With all this in mind, my pick to help you find that luxury home is Luxury Portfolio International. This website, launched and owned by the Leading Real Estate Companies of the World, has thousands of luxury listings in 60 countries from around the world. The search feature is easy to find with the ability to search by location or keyword. Once you get into the listings themselves, you can further refine your search by specialty (what type of property is it) and architectural style. It also breaks the listings down by location so you can quickly scan locations important to you. If you do a search for specs that do not match any results, it still gives you a listing of properties matching those specs anywhere in the world. For example, I did a search for Fort Worth Texas. I received 54 listings. When I further refined the search by Tudor architecual style, it didn’t find anything in Fort Worth, but still gave me locations where the Tudor style can be found. When you click on a individual listings, you are introduced to the property through a slide show of amazing photographs. You can also get access to property brochures and contact information for the listing agent. You can also save properties so be sure to sign up for an account.
Finding a Lender
Believe it or not, the best place to find a lender is on a Property search portal, Zillow.com. When searching for the best place online to find luxury mortgages (or any mortgage for that matter), this site is top notch. So much so, many of the other sites just include this tool in their own pages for helping find mortgage brokers and rates. When you do a search, you can search by several criteria items including zip code and purchase price. You get a nice graphical list of possible lender matching what you need. Once you click on the individual lender, you can see the details of the loan they have available along with some lender reviews. If you so choose, you can contact the lender directly from the website. It is quick and easy to do. Great place to start looking for a lender for your luxury home.
Finding an Agent
When it comes to find an agent, there are plenty of online sources out there to find one. Zillow, of course, is one place to find agents. It even has a rating and review system so it can be a very valuable source of possible agent for a luxury home. However, if you want a source that only lists luxury real estate agents, you might want to check out Who’s Who in Luxury Real Estate. The site claims that each of the agents profiled, over 6000 at the time of this writing, was hand picked by the site to represent the best of the best agents. I like the search capabilities as you can search by location, individual/brokerage or by keyword. Each entry lists the agents specialist and their focus geographic service area. Some of the listing will even include testimonials. When it comes to a luxury home, you have to have the right agent to guide you in your house hunt. This tool can help you to narrow it down to a select few to interview (or you can just contact us!).
Researching a neighborhood
Almost as important as the property itself, the neighborhood of your new luxury home ranks a close second. Once again, there are a ton of sources online to tell you something about the property’s neighborhood. Zillow has some basic information about the neighborhoods to give you a bird’s eye view. However, if you want a comprehensive report on your new neighborhood, check out Neighborhood Scout. This site will produce a report for you on the real estate and demographics of the area. The report also covers schools and crime. You can even get some trends and forecasts about the neighborhood. Neighborhood Scout is not free. You can sign up for a monthly subscription or pay for individual reports. It is $50 a month for 25 reports/month, which seems plenty for your luxury home hunt. You can also buy the individual report for $10 or so a piece.
Many luxury home shoppers will also need information about schools within a good distance of their new location. Public schools can be found using any number of sources on the web including the individual school district pages. If you are interested in learning more about private institutions, there is no better source than the Private School Review. Thousands of schools are detailed with information about their school affiliations, school body, financial information and even information on extracurricular activities In addition to allowing you to search for schools near a particular location, you will also find guides as well as interesting articles such as which private schools all the Presidents attended. If you need to find a school for your new luxury home, there is no better site available
Find Demographic and other useful information
If you are looking for even more additional information about the place you are moving, you can dig into sites like Best Places. It collects an interesting mix of data about a particular location (even smaller cities). For example, did you know that Fort Worth is the number 1 place to avoid a natural disaster. It is also, ironically, rated by another list as the best place to have a natural disaster occur. The site gives basic demographic information along with cost of living and median real estate value for that location. I find the most useful aspect of it, however, are the reviews left by other users. If you want to learn the best (and worst) a place has to offer read how others feel about it. It can be very eye opening. Be sure to check out their compare features as well where you can compare things like crime, climate and schools. Finally, if you like to take Facebook quizes, be sure to take their Best Places to live quiz. It will tell you where you should be living. I was surprised it picked Fort Worth-Arlington for me (where I live now and where I grew up). It is the perfect tool to use to find all the information not easily found anywhere else.
Finding a local designer
You have found your luxury home and love it. However, it needs a few modifications to match your own unique style. Being new to town, where do you go to get a good interior designer. You won’t have to go much further than Houzz and their Find a Professional feature. Each interior designer is categorized by location and specialty. With each profile, you get a good taste of previous projects done by the designer as well as a blurb about who they are and what they bring to the table as a designer. It also includes what their typical job costs and individual reviews. . For Fort Worth, there are over 2600 interior designers listed so be assured that you will be able to find someone to help you with getting your new luxury home in shape.