Before you can buy your dream home, you need to find it. But where should you look? We've compiled a list of the best home buying websites so that you can quickly find ALL the houses for sale in your area and get a jumpstart on your search.
From the best house hunting websites like Zillow and Realtor.com to the top websites for real estate knowledge like Clever, our list will give you the tools and information you need to navigate every step of your home buying journey.
Ready to start house hunting? We can match you with the best realtors in your area. And, on eligible purchases, you could also get a cash-back refund when you close on your dream home!
These are the best home buying websites that can help you find your dream home and make an informed purchasing decision:
3. Clever Real Estate
14. Facebook Marketplace
16. Neighborhood Scout
Zillow is the most popular real estate site out there. It’s an incredibly easy, free way to search for property listings in a given area — and also offers some additional, built-in benefits.
Buyers can filter homes by location, price, home type, features, and more. You’ll get an estimate of monthly costs, including mortgage fees, insurance, and property taxes. It also provides neighborhood info, like local schools, commute times, and walkability scores.
In addition to the list price, Zillow also features a “Zestimate” — a proprietary estimate of a home’s true value, based on recent sales and appreciation in that area.
✍️ Editor's note
Zillow's Zestimate is a useful reference point when assessing the fairness of a home’s price, but it's just an estimate. Never make an offer based on the Zestimate alone — this is where an experienced, local agent who knows the market can really help.
Realtor.com is another one of the best house hunting websites. Like Zillow, it lets you research homes for sale in your area.
What sets Realtor.com apart is its attention to detailed statistics and data. You’ll find highly accurate data on home values, the neighborhood and region’s housing market forecast, details on the best schools and businesses in the area, as well as crime rates and commute times.
This real estate website also offers additional support and tips about buying homes, how to calculate your mortgage payments, and helps you determine how much home you’ll actually be able to afford.
However, Realtor.com does have one noticeable drawback. Its home search tool only shows homes that are listed on the multiple listing service (MLS), so it may not show houses that are "for sale by owner" (FSBO).
3. Clever Real Estate
When you're buying a house, Clever is your #1 resource for the information you need to make an informed purchasing decision.
- Up-to-date, fact-checked guides to every step of the home buying process
- Data-backed information about closing costs and average commission rates in your state
- Tips on how to get a cash refund when you buy a house
Clever also offers a free service that connects you with the best real estate agents in your area from top companies like Berkshire Hathaway, Keller Williams, and RE/MAX.
By working with a Clever agent, you'll get instant MLS alerts, on-demand showings, and an expert negotiator to help you craft a winning offer.
The best part? You may qualify to get a check for up to 0.5% of the purchase price back in your pocket after closing. To put that in perspective, on an eligible $400,000 purchase, you'd get back $2,000 cash. That's real money!
Like other popular home browsing tools, Trulia can help you find and compare homes easily. You can search for homes based on a variety of factors, including number of bedrooms, price range, type of home, and more. The site is simple to navigate and gives you a general overview of the surrounding neighborhood and other properties in the area.
One unique and helpful tool Trulia offers is an interactive map feature where you can learn more about the neighborhood. For instance, when you click on the “crime filter” you can see where crime is highest or lowest in a given area.
Additional search filters include commute times, nearby schools, median age ranges, home affordability scores, and where restaurants and shops are located throughout the community.
Redfin is a real estate brokerage with licensed agents, but it's best known for its popular house hunting website.
✍️ Editor’s note
Redfin's home search tool only works in areas where you can buy or sell with a Redfin agent. If you live outside Redfin's service area, your best bet is to browse homes on websites like Zillow and Realtor.com.
For the most part, you'll find the same homes on Redfin as other similar websites, but it also includes a couple useful features. For example, each listing includes a "Redfin Compete Score," which gives you an idea of whether homes in the neighborhood are selling above or below their list price.
» MORE: Read the complete Redfin review
Homes.com is a home search tool that gathers its information from the multiple listing service (MLS), as well as other real estate websites. The site is a good platform for comparing homes in your area and allows you to look at how the property’s value has changed over time.
With this information you can gain a sense of the neighborhood’s home value trends and whether your home is likely to appreciate in value in the future.
One useful and unique feature offered by Homes.com is the Snap & Search tool. With Snap & Search, if you see a home you love, simply take a picture and the site will find similar homes in your area that match the features and type of home in the picture.
HomeFinder offers a huge selection of homes for rent or purchase, as well as interesting categories such as “off market” properties. It functions similarly to Zillow or Trulia, offering an interactive search tool that filters for price, size, and property type.
HomeFinder's top benefit is that it includes a number of "for sale by owner" listings, including some that may not be advertised anywhere else.
That means you could find exclusive properties on HomeFinder that aren’t listed on other popular real estate sites, and then have your agent negotiate directly with the seller.
ForSaleByOwner.com is one of the best real estate websites for finding homes that aren't listed on the MLS. It has fewer listings than sites like Realtor.com, so it shouldn't be the only house hunting tool you use.
However, it may include for sale by owner listings that don't appear on other websites, which could help you find homes that other local buyers may not know about.
If you're looking for a cheap house and you're not afraid of taking on some DIY home improvement projects, check out Foreclosure.com. This home buying website specializes in short sales, foreclosures, city-owned houses, and other distressed properties.
Most of the homes listed on Foreclosure.com require a lot of TLC, but you'll have less competition from other buyers, so you'll have a much better chance of finding a deal.
Auction.com, a clearinghouse of bank-owned and foreclosed property, currently offers over 30,000 properties, with opening bids that can be as low as one-third of their estimated resale value.
Anyone who’s ever bought something on eBay understands the built-in advantages and disadvantages of buying something via auction. If you’re the only interested party, you’re going to get a bargain; however, most properties on Auction.com have a reserve price — if no bid meets or exceeds that price, the auction will end without a sale. Also, if a property attracts a lot of interest, a bidding war can often drive the price way up.
Sellers who auction their properties prioritize a fast sale over maximum price, and it’s a relatively expensive way to sell, once you factor in auction fees — these motivated sellers translate to a lot of potential value for buyers here. Just remember that if you do win an auction, you have to put 10% down immediately, so be prepared.
RealtyTrac offers buyers access to foreclosed properties. Customers who purchase a subscription service also get access to foreclosure addresses, loan histories, and dates and locations of auctions.
Buyers can get great deals by shopping foreclosures, but there are some complications to keep in mind. If you buy a bank-owned property, it’s usually an as-is sale. That means the bank isn’t going to do any repairs or work on the property prior to the sale.
It will come with a clear title, though, so the buyer doesn’t have to worry about liens or back taxes. This may not apply if the buyer purchases through a foreclosure auction. These properties can come with a clouded title, which can require the buyer to assume those debts.
Still, a foreclosure auction can yield a great deal, as the homes will be offered for the amount of the outstanding mortgage, which can be quite low. Just remember that the price has to be paid in full, in cash, at the time of the sale — generally speaking, mortgages aren’t allowed for auction purchases.
Ever wonder what happens to foreclosed properties that had federally-backed mortgages? Well, they end up on HomeSales.gov. This is where the U.S. government sells all the homes that were once backed by USDA, VA, or HUD mortgages.
As you might imagine, the federal government is a dispassionate and rational seller, so buyers can definitely find deals here. But they’re not the most engaged homeowners, either; most of these properties are sold “as is” and can come with problems ranging from minor to major. It can also be difficult to view the properties — some will even require you to put down an offer just to get a look at it in person.
Craigslist isn't just a place to sell your vintage VHS tape collection. It's also where you can find local "for sale by owner" listings and other properties that may not show up on websites like Zillow or Realtor.com.
It's not the most user-friendly home search tool, of course. You can filter by property type, price, size, and zip code, but you won't find many other search options.
14. Facebook Marketplace
Facebook Marketplace is a lot like Craigslist. You won't find every home for sale in your area, but it's a good place to look for FSBO listings and undeveloped land.
Many sellers who advertise on Facebook also offer owner financing, which can be a huge benefit if you're unlikely to qualify for a conventional mortgage.
If you're thinking about building a new home, LandWatch is a great place to find land to build on. Whether you're looking for a quarter-acre lot in the suburbs or a secluded mountain retreat, you can find it here.
16. Neighborhood Scout
Neighborhood Scout is an intensely data-driven site that matches you with your ideal neighborhood. Using proprietary methodologies from a leading data scientist, the company has identified a long list of over 600 neighborhood characteristics that include (but go way beyond) the more basic metrics, like school district, crime rate, and demographics, you’ll see on websites like Zillow.
Yes, most of the big sites let you explore neighborhoods using statistics like this, but Neighborhood Scout’s angle is that you can “zoom in” much closer — to the block-to-block level of granularity — to find the micro-hood that’s best for you.
They also use all this data to produce market forecasts they claim are 90% accurate over a three-year timespan. If you believe in the power of Big Data, this is definitely the site for you.
Another useful site that may not be on your radar is GreatSchools.org. Assessing the types and quality of schools is certainly important if you’ve got children — but it can also reflect long-term value for homes in that area. Homes in good school districts typically retain — and accrue — value very well, which is incredibly important if you ever want to resell (or tap into your home’s equity).
GreatSchools.org scores each school on a scale from 1 to 10, taking into account everything from test scores and college readiness, to discipline issues and teacher-to-student ratios.
Like GreatSchools.org, Niche provides data-based rankings of local public, private, and charter schools.
This information can help you make an informed choice about where to put down roots and start a family, though you’ll want to visit the actual school’s websites in order to get more details on school district boundaries or if there’s a lottery system to attend a particular school.
CityProtect is a massive interactive crime map, run by the tech giant Motorola, that works in concert with 1,000-plus police departments across the U.S. to upload and display the latest crime reports.
This is a great resource if you're buying long distance and want to make sure a house you're interested in is located in a safe neighborhood.
When looking for a new home, cable and internet may be the last thing on your mind. You’re most likely focused on qualifying for a mortgage or finding a home close to work.
However, you should keep in mind the hurdles and extra costs that come with getting cable, internet, and phone services. And if you're moving to a rural area or planning to work from home, you'll want to make sure you have access to internet speeds that meet your needs.
BroadbandNow.com allows you to search zip codes and your location to see which providers and services are in your area. They include detailed information such as pricing, coverage, set up fees, termination fees, and help you compare one service provider against another.
When determining your monthly budget for your new home, be sure to factor in internet, cable, and phone costs, as spending an additional $60 each month can really add up quickly when you’re strapped for cash.
Ready to buy?
FAQs about home buying websites
What are the best home buying websites?
The best home buying websites include property search tools like Zillow, Realtor.com, and Redfin. Another great real estate website is Clever, which offers thoroughly researched guides for house hunters — such as how to qualify for a money-saving home buyer rebate.
What are some websites like Zillow?
Some of the top websites like Zillow are Realtor.com, Redfin, Homes.com, HomeFinder, and Trulia. All of these house hunting websites are great resources when you're trying to look at properties online. Ready to start touring homes in person? Learn how to get pre-approved for a mortgage — and earn cash back when you close on your new home.
What are the differences between Redfin vs. Zillow vs. Realtor.com?
Redfin, Zillow, and Realtor.com are three of the best home buying websites. The biggest difference is that Redfin's house search tool doesn't show for sale listings in areas where there are no Redfin agents. Another difference is that Realtor.com only shows homes that are listed on the MLS, so it may be missing some "for sale by owner" listings.