Indianapolis Area Real Estate Blog

6 Online Tools to Bridge the Home Buyers Gap Between Online Search to Offline Reality

Why Doesn’t This Home Look Like the Pictures?

The online view of homes is often distorted or not exactly like you thought it might be in person. Oh, there’s nothing wrong with your computer, but rarely does a home look exactly the same online as it does in real life.
It is estimated almost 90% of home buyers start searching for their Indianapolis home online. It’s a great way to gather information and start narrowing down your search for an area or specific home. 

10 of the most common problems home buyers won't see when searching online

Equipment Failure!

  1. Does your computer screen actually display rich life-like colors?
  2. Was it a cloudy day when the photo was taken?
  3. Was it a sunny day when the photo was taken?
  4. Were the camera settings incorrectly configured?
  5. Is the lighting at the site or indeed where you are sitting in-front of your computer distorting your color sense?


  1. Is your dream home next to a power box?
  2. Living close to the school is nice, except when your back yard is a child's playground; day and night! For some, this is not ideal.
  3. You love using the bus, but not so much that having it next to your home is a perk rather than a pest.
  4. Those two abandoned lots/homes nearby may hold back the investment gains you could realize elsewhere.
  5. The train runs right behind your home every two hours like clockwork, shaking your windows and your nerves.
These are important factors to consider when purchasing a home.

How to you can make the Most of Online Tools When Searching for a Home

How can you find out more detail and lessen the shock of viewing a home and find it’s not exactly what you thought? I don’t have any ideas for determining if the color is right. If you dig a little deeper online though, you can find out a lot of information not included in the pictures.

  1. Maps aren’t just for directions to a home: Online map features today can give you an up close view of a property. Birds Eye View will give you both a distant view or close enough to see if there is a fence, deck or patio. With Street View, you can pan the neighborhood, moving up and down the  streets. Check for telephone and electrical poles or train tracks.Map for Homes in Indianapolis
  2. Full size photos and virtual tours: Larger photos and virtual tours generally show more detail than the smaller photos initially displayed on most websites. Look at wall space and windows; this can give you a great idea of the layout of the room.
  3. What type of flooring is that? Flooring is the probably the most difficult feature to determine solely based on the photos. Laminate can look like hard wood and newer vinyl floors are almost an exact match for tile. In the details of the interior section, you can find the flooring description, which will answer the question of whether a room has hard wood, vinyl, tile or laminate flooring.
  4. The family room sure looked larger online! One of the best tools for marketing a home is a wide angle lens. This allows Realtors to show the full size of an interior room; even a small room. Online, this can make a room look larger than it feels when you are standing in it. The property description will tell you the exact room sizes.
  5. Local school information: When schools are important, it’s good to know how schools in a specific area rank. For some parents, distance to a school is equally important. Our map view of schools allows you to quickly see how close the nearest schools are and how they rank. Indianapolis School Information and Rankings
  6. Lifestyle and Neighborhood Amenities are often another factor in determining the right location for your next home in Indianapolis. Whether you want to look at homes close to the Monon Greenway in Carmel, near a park in Brownsburg, or within walking distance to the local coffee shop downtown, our “What’s Nearby” feature will answer your questions about how far you have to travel for your favorite activity.Indianapolis Neighborhood Amenities

    Many people are choosing lifestyle communities and walkable neighborhoods are a big hit. This same feature gives you the walkability score of the home you are looking at. If a walkable neighborhood is important, check out the walk score of the home you are buying.

+ Do you have any tips or tricks you would like to share from your online home buying experience? Please add your tip or trick below! 

Are you considering buying a home in or around Indianapolis? Contact Paula and her team of real estate professionals and make today's home buyers dream, tomorrow's reality.



#1 By Gena Riede at 9/12/2011 8:41 PM

Very thorough, Paula. I don't think I have anything to add. Excellent real estate tips for all those home buyers searching for homes on the Internet.

#2 By Try Before You Buy at 12/12/2011 0:58 AM

Very insightful. A lot of homebuyers tend to overlook these details and just base their decision on pictures. Yes it's true that pictures can be very deceiving and I guess it's our responsibility, as a homebuyer, to double check everything before we decide. And I also think that we shouldn't purchase a house based on pictures. I would rather see the property in person first. But regardless, just like Gena Riede said above, this is a very thorough article. A good read indeed.

#3 By laminate tile flooring at 1/20/2012 6:42 PM

great tips. these are things that most people would never think to consider. however, whenevr possible you still need to visit the house in person, but these tips can possibly help you make the decision easier in advance.


#4 By estate agents Islington at 7/1/2013 4:50 AM

Great tips, but as @laminate say's you will still need to visit the house in person.. but anyway.. with today's technology you can check anything online

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