The National Association of Realtors reports that 90% of homebuyers search for homes online and that Real Estate searches on have grown by 253% in the past 5 years. These are compelling statistic, and having current information is paramount to making your search productive.

Sadly, several well know real estate sites, that people expect to be accurate, are not as reliable as one might hope. Many only update their feeds intermittently and they often report homes for sale or ‘pre-foreclosure’ that are in fact either under contract or not coming on the market at all. Select your site with care and if your results continually return inaccurate data, change to another location.

Your most valuable resource may be your realtor. They are able to set you up with your own personalized ongoing search containing up to date and accurate data. This will download directly from the same website as agents use, so you will have access to exactly the same data as they do. All reports can be sent to you daily, weekly or on whichever days of the week you prefer.

Ensure that you are not too specific with your selections as not all listings have every field updated. Basic information such as number of bedrooms, bathrooms, garages and lot size are normally very accurate but when it gets down to more detail many agents will neglect things like schools or home square footage. If your search is dependent on fields such as these, you may miss homes which fall into your criteria but are omitted from the report due to missing information. It is better to receive more properties than you need, than to miss some.

The good news is that although all homes within your search will be shown on every report, only those that are new, or have been amended in some way will be highlighted, making it easy to scan for any new information.

There are also apps that work across all platforms, allowing you to identify open houses and properties for sale, when you are out an about. Ask your agent if they are able to share one with you. Driving around an area to familiarize yourself with the neighborhood, and identifying streets that you like, is invaluable in your property search and having an app that guides you to the available properties can be extremely helpful.

According to Google’s head of real estate, Patrick Grandinetti, “Increasingly, online technologies are driving offline behaviors, and Real Estate is no exception”. With that in mind, selecting the right websites and apps plays an important role in finding just the right home.

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.