Once you decide you want to buy or sell a home, there are many great resources available on the internet. Among my favorites are:
Freddie Mac is involved in supporting the mortgage market. Their website has many useful resources, especially for home buyers and those that want to refinance their home. The site can help you determine whether to rent or buy, how much you can afford to pay for a home, how much you can borrow, what type of mortgage to get, and has many more useful tips. My favorite page provides links to various calculators to help you with some of these decisions.
Although, your insurance agent can provide accurate information about whether a home is in the flood plain (and is the only resource on which to rely), while you are researching areas, a great resource is the Harris County Flood Education Mapping Tool. Once you are at the website, enter the address you want to search in the upper left.
While you are researching crime, Trulia provides a heat map showing high and low crime areas on a map of your area. Again, just enter the address you want to research in the upper left corner.
While searching for what schools to attend in Houston ISD, there is useful information about magnet schools, charter schools and other options at the Select A School tab and a school finder at the Find a School tab. Private schools can be found at Houston Private Schools among others. Children at Risk has a listing of school ratings for the Houston area.
Current valuations placed on homes in Harris County can be found at the Appraisal District website.
Search sites to consider while searching for a home or to list a home include Trulia.com, Zillow.com, Realtor.com and HAR.com. In the Harris County area, HAR.com will have the most accurate, and up-to-date listing information. One caution is that Texas is a non-disclosure state (meaning sales prices are not public information), so none of the national web sites have completely accurate valuation information. Consider the valuation information provided by those websites as you would the valuations provided by the appraisal district (not an accurate indicator of market price for a property.) However, each of those sites provides useful information about the home buying and selling process.
Once you buy a home, Utility Connect can help you hook up all your utilities and cable company in one stop.
Of course, my website can help you with search and information for buyers and sellers.
And, obviously Google can help you find many more sites and blogs providing information about the home buying and selling process. Please email me if you have a favorite site to pass along or leave a comment. Thank you.