Purchasing a home is the most important – and most expensive – majority of people make. With so many complex steps and processes, it can be extremely intimidating, particularly if you are a first-time buyer.
To make things even more complicated, it seems like there are dozens of websites offering real estate listings that all offer the same thing. Are there any significant differences? And which one should you go with?
21 BEST REAL ESTATE WEBSITES
Here are the top real estate websites in 2021 for buying or selling a home online:
Best for: The majority of listings
Zillow is the most famous real estate website on the internet, with around 36 million unique monthly visitors, and they also claim to have the most listings. The website can be used for any real estate-related activity, including buying, selling, renting, investment, and even remodeling.
When you’re looking for a home, Zillow provides an immersive photo experience to help you get a complete picture of the property.
Zillow has its own method for determining home prices. The ‘Zestimate’ home valuation model appraises the value of homes using factors such as home facts, location, and market conditions based on data provided by their own users and other sources. This is used for both rental properties and houses for sale.
Zillow also operates the most famous suite of real estate apps, with over two dozen apps available across multiple platforms.
Best for: its Mobile App
A close challenger of Zillow and similar in so many ways, Trulia has over one million homes for sale and to rent.
Trulia makes it as easy as possible to reach a property that exactly matches that picture you have in your mind of your dream home. There are over 35 filters available, as well as a custom keyword search.
You’ll be able to assess a neighborhood’s strengths and weaknesses. Trulia has more insights than any other competitor, ranging from drone footage to resident reviews. There are also buying, renting, and selling guides available for download.
Although Zillow has the most famous suite of real estate apps, Trulia’s app stands out for being both fun and simple.
Best for: Search Features
HomeFinder may not have the most characteristics, but it is a prestigious search portal with millions of listings spanning all 50 states. It has been in operation since 1999 and has been named a Top 5 site for streamlined home searches by Home Wire.
You can search not only for properties for sale and rent but also for properties that are no longer on the market – this is hard to find in general and a great way to get a good deal.
Finally, HomeFinder can be used to view local mortgage rates for each state – you can enhance the effectiveness by entering your purchase price, down payment, and credit score. This will provide you with quotes from several loan companies.
Best for: Buying Online
Most real estate websites only instruct you through the first part of the home-buying process, but Xome also allows you to purchase the property through their website, which is why they call themselves a ‘one-stop-shop for real estate.’ They have their own Xome agents and Xome Concierge to assist you in saving money on agent commissions while still receiving high-quality advice.
In addition to saving on commission, if you use the Purchase Pro program and a Xome Agent to buy a home, you may be eligible for a significant rebate afterward. Pre-qualification, tours, a clear process for finding a mortgage, guidance with the closing process, and signing documents using secure e-signature technology are all part of the service.
The Xome Auction feature allows you to bid on a variety of short sale, foreclosure, real estate owned, commercial, and residential properties online.
Xome, like Zillow, has its own valuation process for estimating property prices.
Best for: Finding a Realtor
Real estate websites, no matter how useful and advanced they are, are not a substitute for a real estate agent – and Realtor acknowledges this. Instead of worrying about jargon, paperwork, and technical documents, concentrate on what you’re searching for in a property. Realtor collaborates closely with the National Association of Realtors, making them a professional and trustworthy place to begin your property search. You can search for a realtor directly from the website, which has a register of over one million agents because finding a realtor can be just as essential as searching for a property.
You can use Realtor to get pre-approved for a competitive mortgage, as well as search for a home and learn about a neighborhood. Enter any address or city to find statistics on everything from crime rates to local schools.
Best for: Brokerage Services
Because Redfin is both a broker and a website where you can browse property listings, they have their own real estate agents with whom you can work. This is distinct from a Realtor, who can connect you with realtors across the country but is not a broker themselves.
The listings are less extensive than on some of the other sites on this list, but there are some useful features. You can take 3D tours of home listings, which makes it easier to decide whether or not to book a tour.
Redfin claims that using their agents can save you $8,400 on average while providing a full service that includes same-day house bookings.
Best for: Accessing Local MLS
Your local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) provides the most up-to-date information about the real estate market – so up-to-date that it is used by licensed real estate professionals and brokers. Although it is a private listing, various sites, the most important of which is MLS.com, provide a watered-down version.
Although the website contains real estate news, questions and answers, and educational tools such as a mortgage calculator, MLS.com is primarily a database of the local MLS. Other real estate websites do a better job of guiding you through the buying process, such as obtaining a mortgage pre-approval or locating an agent.
When you have your own real estate agent or broker, you can often gain access to the true MLS, which makes more sense for many people. Many other real estate websites use information from the true MLS as well. However, MLS.com is the way to go if you want to access a version that is as close to the original as possible and as quickly as possible.
Best for: Finding a Good Value
Homes.com showcases over 120,000 homes sourced from MLS listings and other real estate websites.
An amusing feature is the ability to view a property’s value history and compare it to the histories of other homes in the same area. This is useful for determining whether a property is truly “good value,” which can be difficult to define and assess.
You can learn about local schools and neighborhoods, as well as more technical data about property taxes, insurance, and mortgage payments while browsing. There’s also a beneficial step-by-step guide to becoming a homeowner, which covers the first eleven steps of the process.
Best for: Streamlined Services
ZipRealty connects users with real estate agents in their area. They are more similar to Realtor.com than RedFin in that the agents they interact with are not their own. When looking for a realtor, you can read reviews from previous clients to see if they’re a good fit for your needs.
Above all, ZipRealty takes pride in providing streamlined and interconnected services. Combine access to real estate agent assistance with the technological advantages of a good website and mobile app. It’s easier than ever to look for a home while on the go, thanks to an award-winning app that allows you to browse listings and request tours.
Another significant advantage of ZipRealty is its price comparison tools, which allow you to compare properties based on their price per square foot, list price, and price-to-sale ratio. This provides a more complete picture of value than a simple house price.
Best for: Auctions
If you’d rather purchase a home at auction rather than through the traditional process, Auction.com is the place to go. The majority of properties that are auctioned off are foreclosures or bank-owned properties that are eventually sold to investors.
You can save properties you like as ‘favorites’ as you browse the site, which generates tailored suggestions based on your profile.
Auctions can be held both online and in person. If you win, Auction.com will advise you on what to do next. To properly close the deal, you will collaborate with the closing and contracts teams.
However, remember that Auction.com is focused on real estate investors rather than those looking for a home to live in. It is also your responsibility to inspect a property before purchasing it or scheduling a viewing, which the website does not assist with.
Best For: Urban Areas
Hotpads is another apartment specialist, but it specializes in urban apartments. Whatever city you call (or hope to call) home, finding a property that fulfills your requirements at an acceptable price can be a hard task, so you must act quickly.
Hotpads give you the tools you need to have an advantage. All listings are verified with landlord contact information and user analysis to ensure their legitimacy, and you can receive notifications directly to your phone when a property matching your criteria becomes available. This eliminates the need to check the app every five minutes to ensure you don’t miss out on your dream home.
You’ll also be able to use a commute time calculator and conduct a map-based search for nearby amenities to ensure you’re making the best decision for your lifestyle.
Best for: Renting
Rent.com exists because not everyone wants to buy a home. Renting is sometimes the best option, especially if you plan on moving around rather than remaining in one place.
To explore, the website offers a marketplace full of verified listings. Choose between houses and apartments, which are famous among the rental community, and search the site’s listings. Each one contains useful information such as HD photos, 3D floor plans, and certified reviews from residents, all of which are designed to make the process easier for you.
There are special resources available to assist first-time renters, as well as more advanced information for skilled renters. There is also information for students, those on a tight budget, seniors, military personnel, and high-end buyers. Whatever your personal situation and history, you’ll most likely find something of interest to you.
Best for: Apartment Rentals
ForRent.com is a fantastic resource for finding apartments to rent.
Before they are listed, all properties are vetted by experts, and there is something for all. Search for luxury, pet-friendly, or two-bedroom apartments, among other options.
The website also contains information and advice from rental experts. You can use a rent calculator to determine your rent budget based on your monthly income and the percentage of your income you’re willing to spend on rent. There are even articles on interior design and apartment setup advice.
Best for: Updated Listings
Movoto asserts to be updated by the minute 24 hours a day, 365 days a year – it doesn’t get much better than that if you want to be the first to know about new property listings.
To change the course of real estate and provide the most reliable information, they even use adaptive AI technology, data scientists, and client communication tools.
If you find a property you like, you’ll be contacted by a local agent; all meetings are free and without obligation. You can also use the website to get pre-approval and details about mortgages and financing.
15. Open Listing
Best for: Personalized Features
Open Listing offers a new and modern real estate platform that is similar to social media in some ways. You’ll organize a personalized feed full of properties that may be of importance to you as you update your personal criteria and add favorites.
All listings are published directly from local Multiple Listing Services as soon as they are available, much faster than competitors.
If you’re buying with a partner or a friend, you can share favorites, tours, and offers with them to make the process go more smoothly.
Although Open Listing is a slightly different site, you can find solace in the fact that it has a network of vetted showing agents. They will be the ones to show you around when you need to book a tour or go to an open house. There are also buying agents who can assist you in getting an offer accepted and guiding you through the closing process.
Best for: Foreclosure Properties
RealtyTrac is a real estate website that focuses primarily on foreclosures and bad assets – it has the most foreclosed properties available online.
Users will be able to work with skilled agents to guide them through the process in addition to having access to listings and the ability to participate in auctions. You’ll also have access to a wide range of resources that will teach you more about the benefits and drawbacks of investing in this type of property.
Although the core features are free, there is also a paid subscription option. This includes unrestricted access to property addresses, auction dates and locations, and loan information. If you’re not sure if it’s worth the money, you can get a seven-day trial instead.
17. Century 21 Real Estate
Best for: Reliable Realtors
Century 21 has been around in different forms since 1972 and now has thousands of brokers all over the world. Century 21, which prides itself on brand awareness, aspires to reinvent buyers’ and sellers’ perceptions of real estate agents, who are frequently mistrusted – they target to provide a network of trustworthy realtors.
There is a wealth of information available about a specific location, including detailed demographic data as well as information about schools and weather.
There are a variety of resources available to assist you in making the right decisions when it comes to buying, which will take you from the process of selecting a house to close the deal.
Best for: Luxury Properties
Although the majority of assets are focused in the United States, Re/Max lists characteristics and provides agents for cities and countries all over the world.
They have a distinct collection of luxury properties, which are defined as being worth at least twice the average sold price in their zip code. They also have a commercial property section, which includes acquisitions and dispositions.
Using the interconnected mortgage calculated, you can discover financing options, loan amounts, and monthly payments for properties of interest.
There is also a free app with the following key features:
(a) Map search using a dynamic map
(b) Find results based on your current location.
(c) Use interactive maps to navigate neighborhoods.
(d) Instructions for driving to properties of interest
(e) Make a note of favorite listings.
(f) Make contact with agents
19. Coldwell Banker Realtors
Best for: In-person Service
Coldwell Banker has been in the real estate sector since 1906, making it one of North America’s oldest companies in the industry.
Brokerage offices can be discovered in every state in the United States, including Hawaii and Alaska, so if getting advice in person to guide you through the buying process is important to you, Coldwell is a reputable name to turn to.
When using the Coldwell Banker website, it is simple to access the direct MLS listings, and if you register to be compared with a local agent, you will also be able to receive email notifications about the properties that are most relevant to you.
Best for: Renting Apartments
Most real estate websites accommodate to houses, but this isn’t everyone’s first choice for a home, particularly for urban residents and renters who prefer apartments. That is why ApartmentGuide is solely dedicated to those looking to rent out their apartments.
Users can be confident that as an offshoot of RentPath, a digital marketing agency for the rental industry, they will have the tools and information they need to make the best decision. This includes industry insights, content-rich listings, and a powerful search engine.
You can also search for a rental apartment while on the go by using apps designed specifically for iPads, iPhones, and Android devices.
Best for: Rental Properties
Apartments.com asserts to be the most popular rental website on the internet, with over a million properties to choose from. These include apartments, houses, condos, townhouses, and pretty much any other type of property you can think of.
A skilled research team visits and photographs the properties to confirm the information you seek, including rates and fees and pet policies.
The site’s ‘Polygon’ tool, which allows users to define their search areas on a map and find features within them, is a standout feature. There is also a commute planner to assist customers in finding a home as close to their place of employment as possible.