The housing market is heating up for spring.

Spring officially began last week, but the real estate market in Rhode Island started feeling like spring a few weeks ago. You may have noticed more “For Sale” signs in your neighborhood, more open houses and more moving trucks.

When it comes to searching for a home, there are many options available to buyers today. If buying a home in the next few months is in your future, you may wonder what your options are for wading through the increasing inventory of homes to find the one that’s best for you.

Thankfully, for both REALTORS® and their clients, we have come a long way from the Multiple Listing books. These giant books were akin in size to the holiday toy catalogs of the past and printed with available properties. As you can imagine, they were cumbersome to work with and quickly out of date.

There are still printed options for home searches. Newspapers like The Providence Journal still run popular real estate sections with home listings. There also are a variety of home magazines that feature available properties in certain neighborhoods or parts of the region.

But the Internet search continues to be the most popular search option for buyers. In fact, 92 percent of buyers used the web in their search last year. Just as newspapers print home listings, many also carry these same listings on their websites.

REALTOR.com, the public side of the National Association of REALTORS®, is a top site when it comes to the home search. The site goes beyond providing just listings; it offers buyers insight on mortgages, moving and more.  In Rhode Island the top site where many search for homes is through RILiving.com, the region’s multiple listing service.

Sites like Trulia and Zillow are also popular. These are good for getting an idea of what might be available. So many sites and options buyers should know the information may not always be up-to-date, resulting in homes that are no longer available or home values being inaccurately reflected.

The best home search source is your local REALTOR®. From print to digital media, home tours and more, your REALTOR® can provide a series of search avenues for you. REALTORS® know the market, including properties that may not be listed yet. They can use all the available tools to move you from “the search is on” to “the search is over.”

Jim Wetzel is Executive Vice President of the Kent Washington Association of REALTORS®. Contact him at 401-885-9300 or jimwetzel@kwaor.org.


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