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Buying a home is a big commitment, and searching for that home can be a big headache. In a market where mortgage rates are fluctuating and consumer confidence is still shaky, finding your new pad is tough.

Here are a few house hunting websites that can help you narrow your search, so you don’t have to settle.

Realtor.com

Realtor.com has listings updated every 15 minutes from more than 900 multiple listing services across the country. This makes the more than 4 million listings some of the most up-to-date information available, and their market summaries provide insight to neighborhoods, as well. As the official site of the National Association of Realtors, rest assured that this is a credible place to start your search.

Homefinder.com

This site breaks down its listings by category, from broker listings to rentals, new construction, foreclosures and classifieds, which is helpful for homebuyers uncertain of the type of listing they want to pursue. With resources on their blog, several guides available, and professionals available to chat, Homefinder.com walks you through the process of buying a home step-by-step.

Trulia.com

Trulia is a truly a user-friendly site, with capabilities to view listings in photo, list, and even map formats. Their tagline is “get the inside scoop,” and here users can do just that with school reviews, price trends, crime reports and even reviews from local residents. They’ve recently added a “Find an Agent” feature, and you can do it all on the mobile app as well.

Homes.com

Homes.com provides an easy way to search for the basics: homes for sale, places for rent, recently sold home values, and a directory of local professionals to help in your search. Demographic information for neighborhoods is displayed in graphs and easy to understand, making this a great place to browse in your search.

Realestate.com

This site has some of the most in-depth demographic information and market analysis for neighborhoods, displaying information as specific as average commute time, weather risk broken down by type of occurrence, even sortable nearby amenities and a detailed inventory of market trends. Listings can be sorted by all kinds of criteria, and you can even get a free home value estimator report.

Forsalebyowner.com

This site is pretty self-explanatory — here you can find listings of homes that are being sold sans real estate agent. Here you can search homes on the market, list your own home for sale, and even find plenty of resources for both buyers and sellers: guides, checklists and important information to make sure you don’t forget anything if you decide to sell or buy a home on your own.

Zillow.com

Often used by homeowners to check their property’s value, Zillow boasts more than 100 million listings (with Google Earth views), not just those that are for sale. Their Zestimates, their estimated market value, give insight into a home’s worth using publicly available data, and users can ask questions and participate in advice forums in their online community.

By using these house hunting websites, you can save yourself quite a bit of time and energy in your homebuying adventure. It can be a long journey, but if you arm yourself with the right resources, sealing the deal on your new home can more easily become a reality.

Image: iStockphoto

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