When searching for a new home, many buyers turn to real estate listings online. If you don’t use filters for your online home search, you’ll end up wasting time viewing houses that don’t meet your needs. Here are 5 tips to follow when looking at house listings online.

Get Specific with Your Boundaries

If you have strong preferences about certain neighborhoods, there is a handy tool on Zillow that allows you to get specific. Instead of just searching within a zip code, city, or county, you can draw boundaries around the areas you want to search. Work with your real estate agent to discuss the neighborhoods that would most appeal to you, especially if you are not familiar with the area.

Filter Out Home Types That Won’t Work for You

You may know that you want a detached single-family home, or maybe you are open to a condo or multi-family property. When you don’t filter by home types, you’ll be looking at plots of land, apartments, townhomes, condos, manufactured homes, and multi-family units in addition to houses. If some of these types are a dealbreaker for you, filter them out of your search.

Set a Price Limit for Your Online Home Search

It’s fun to daydream about living in a mansion, but if this isn’t realistic for your budget, set a price limit. You’ll only get discouraged by looking at houses you can’t afford. Set the upper price limit at the number that you are pre-approved for or the maximum you’re comfortable spending. You don’t have to accept all the money that the bank offers you. A mortgage payment shouldn’t exceed 30% of your household income after taxes.

Only Look at Homes That are Large Enough

You may be able to compromise on certain things, but you cannot reduce your family’s size. Don’t bother looking at houses that simply don’t have enough space and rooms. If you don’t want your teenage children to have to share a bedroom, filter out houses that are too small.

3D Home Tours Come in Handy for Your Online Home Search

Some listings have 3D tours that show each room, making you feel as though you are in the space looking around. If you are moving to a far-away place where you might not be able to physically visit every home, 3D tours are a great tool. Set up an alert that notifies you when a new listing with a 3D tour becomes available.

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