When touting the best real estate websites for the current year, naturally thoughts about some of the perennial, big name, home search websites might come to mind. However, in 2023 when the real estate market may feel overwhelming to navigate, these five websites should be at the top of your list when it comes to buying or selling a home.
National Association of Realtors (NAR) Research and Statistics
The NAR is one of the industry’s leading authorities on various aspects of real estate in the United States. With an easily searchable database on a variety of topics for both agents and consumers, it’s their Latest Housing Indicators that might help you hone in on pertinent decision-making data when it comes to current markets, trends, and insights. With information like their Housing Affordability Index, Quarterly Forecasts, State and Metro Area Data, Research Reports, and Sales Data, NAR covers all of the bases. For some who may feel overwhelmed by the volume and depth of data, keep in mind that knowledge is power.
United States Federal Reserve
While it may feel like a discouraging time to save up for and buy a home with the seemingly constant rise in interest rates, it is helpful to check in frequently on what the U.S. Federal Reserve is doing as it pertains particularly to Bank Prime Loan rates. With higher overall interest rates, comes higher monthly mortgage payments, and cumulative interest charged on a mortgage loan may increase significantly.
Nerdwallet’s Housing Affordability Calculator
There are many home affordability calculators available online. However, one of the best, most user-friendly ones comes from Nerdwallet. Their Housing Affordability Calculator is but one of many calculator tools on their site, along with several guides, tips, and their top “best of” picks for a variety of loan, credit, and debt tools. There are several different toggle features with Nerdwallet’s calculator such as monthly payment in the “affordable,” “stretch,” and “aggressive” categories; likely interest rates by credit score; loan details by down payment, term, closing costs, income, and debts; and a geographical “what can I afford” city and zip code search bar. Nerdwallet, like nearly every other available free calculator tool, discloses that their landing page is also a place for marketing from partners who compensate them for advertising space.
Redfin’s Value Estimator
Whether you are considering selling your home in 2023 or are simply interested to see what it is currently worth, Redfin’s Value Estimator is one of the most accurate tools for predicting within a few percentage points, your home’s actual value by using historical data, real-time demand, and market value. Other big name online real estate search engines can also predict estimates for your home’s value, but Redfin claims their “algorithm considers hundreds of data points about the market, the neighborhood, and the home itself, like whether it has a water view or is located on a busy street. When all of this data meets the massive computing power of our proprietary machine-learning software and today’s best cloud technology, you get the Redfin Estimate.”
Keep in mind that while online estimator tools are helpful, nothing can replace a professional real estate appraisal. In-person appraisals done by professional appraisers can take into account things that online tools cannot. Add-ons, upgrades, neighborhood noise or visual pollution, and how well the home has been cared for are all important data points as well.
Framework Home’s Needs vs. Wants Checklist
In 2023, there are significant variables to consider when buying or selling a home. With continued demand outpacing supply, higher than usual interest rates, and factors like affordability and availability in constant flux, getting clarity on what your needs and wants are is key. Framework has taken into account some of the deal-breaking needs as well as optional, but important wants that homeowners should be aware of. They have made it especially easy (and visual) to track these personalized variables with their downloadable and interactive home shopping checklist. Not only will utilizing this tool provide immeasurable clarity for the homeowner, but also providing this information to your real estate agent will make their job easier as well.