Some tips when searching for real estate in the Buffalo and WNY area.

There are many buying and selling tools in the Erie County, NY region. Of course you can ask a realtor to do the work for you, but let’s assume you like shopping for real estate and want to do a lot of the leg work yourself. Besides, a realtor will never bring you a ‘for sale by owner’ (FSBO) deal.

When searching for a property in the WNY area, these are the tools that I use most.

  1. MLS Search: First, I like a nice fast site that has access to the local MLS (multiple listing service). The MLS contains all of the properties that are listed by realtors in the region. For this service I use Hunt Real Estate.
  2. FSBO Search: I also like to check out a couple of the FSBO (For Sale By Owner) sites in the area. For this is will search at America’s Choice Homes and WNY by Owner.

Once I locate a property, I like to do a little research regarding prior sales on the street. For this you can check out the prior sales data at Buffalo.com. This will give you a good indication of what homes on that street, and the adjacent streets, normally sell for and should give you a good indication of the price per square foot. Be careful not to compare apples and oranges. Do a drive by and check public records to be sure that you are comparing like properties (square footage of home, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, central air, condition of property, etc.).

You might be able to use a site like the NETR property data store to pull public record data from the comfort of your home. I tend to search in Lancaster, NY and Clarence, NY and it just so happens that the data is freely available at Erie.gov. There are even pictures of all properties in Clarence and Lancaster. I don’t even have to do a drive by because of these services. Take a look.

Town of Clarence Assessor’s Database
Town of Lancaster Assessor’s Database

Looking to get a map and aerial photo of the location? In my opinion, there is nothing better than Google Maps. You can download Google Earth if you want a terrific and fun application with better resolution than you will find online.

Hope this helps in your Western New York real estate search.