Whether you are in the market to purchase your next home or just looking for a new apartment to rent, start your search on the Web.
Sites like eRealty.com (and many others) allow you to do a 360-degree "Virtual Tour" which allows you to view various major rooms in the home. From the comfort of your present home, you can get a quick look at many homes before you even go out to see them in person! This is especially good if your next home is going to be out-of-state, for example!
For apartment complexes, you may find a Virtual Tour that shows you what the complex looks like, viewed from the outside. Even better, you may be able to see actual floor plans for the various apartment choices (like one-bedroom, two-bedroom, three-bedroom, etc.). Seeing both the floor plan (and how many square feet each apartment has) before deciding which apartments to try to tour in person can save a lot of time.
For many cities, you might also try the major metropolitan newspaper (like the Houston Chronicle) to see the homes listed online.
Also, if you are not in the market for a new home but might be interested in a foreclosed home, you can search listings for Fannie Mae, HUD/FHA, VA, etc. online.
After doing a Web search, it will then be time to contact individual Realtors and apartment locating services to actually find your home but by then you might already have a good idea as to what may be available and what you are looking for!
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