Now that you have a loan pre-approval in hand and we know how much you want to spend, it’s time to go house hunting!
As we get the process started, you and I will discuss your housing wants and needs, how you plan to use the property, and your plans for the future. More often than not, search criteria changes for Buyers throughout the house search process, so continue to be open with me as your agent so that I can adjust my search accordingly.
How to Identify Housing Wants Versus Housing Needs
There’s a lot to consider in buying a house, and it’s important that you take time on the front end to figure out what would be the best house for you. This usually will vary depending on your family, your lifestyle, your intended use for the property, etc. I will spend a considerable amount of time getting to know you and understanding who you are and what you really need in a property.
I wish I could help you find the perfect property with everything you ever wished for, but unfortunately, that’s not typically the reality, so it’s important to begin the home search process with a realistic evaluation of your wants versus needs. ‘Needs’ might include a single-level house, one that is turn-key or a property in a certain school district. ‘Wants’ are more fluid in a real estate search, and it makes sense to remain flexible on your wants or consider ways to achieve them in the future. Wants are things that you can potentially do to a property to improve it later, such as a hot tub, a gourmet kitchen or a huge back deck for entertaining. In the property search, I will focus on your needs first, and I will also help you evaluate properties to determine if your wants can be achieved down the road.
There are a variety of ways to search for properties, but none are completely fool-proof. This is why I recommend that clients use at least two online sources to search for homes, because otherwise you could be missing something.
House Hunting Websites
Many Buyers now prefer to start their house hunt online. Searching for homes on the internet gives Buyers an opportunity to start learning about the market and current property values without much commitment or time. While most house-hunting websites (ie: Zillow, Trulia, realtor.com) can be good resources to do an initial search for properties, be aware that the information on these sites tends to be inaccurate. Even though these sites say that they’re in business to help you find a home, their primary business goal is to sell your personal contact information. During your online search, if you see a property that you are interested in, please contact me directly so that I can help you do the research and verify the accuracy of the information posted online.
Open houses are another excellent way to preview a lot of properties and test the waters. By all means, feel free to go to as many open houses as you want. The Realtor who will be hosting the open houses is there because they are looking for new clients and want your business, so remember to tell them that you are working with a Realtor already & provide them with my contact information so that they can follow up.
For Sale By Owner Properties
Houses that are put on the market as For Sale By Owners (FSBO’s) can be tricky. FSBOs are Sellers who are unrepresented by a real estate professional, and do not sell homes on a regular basis. FSBO’s lack of experience and knowledge about legal issues relating to property sales can lead to sticky situations, which is why you, as a Buyer, are working with a real estate professional. If you see a For Sale By Owner house that you’re interested in checking out, be sure to contact me first so I can make initial contact and gather information to help you evaluate the house.
A Multiple Listing Service (MLS) is a private source of property listing information that Real Estate Agents use to advertise their properties for sale and establish compensation agreements between each other. MLS systems are the most accurate and updated source of information about properties currently on the market. Another huge advantage of working with a Realtor is that I will set you up with a free Client Portal to aid in your home search. If you’d like to use this tool to view MLS listings, let me know and I will get you set up with a free account which will automatically email you new listings as they come on the market. This will give you a leg up on the competition because you’ll know about the new listings first.
Now that I know your housing wants and needs, I will be on the lookout for both the property of your dreams and for properties that you might not have initially considered. I will also keep you in mind for upcoming listings that haven’t yet come on the market. Expect to receive occasional emails from me suggesting a property that might not have been on your radar, and keep an open mind throughout this process. House hunting is a journey, and you never know exactly where it will lead you!
You may have a list of the top homes that you’re interested in seeing. If you are in the area and it’s practical to do so, I will probably suggest that you take a drive by the home you’re interested in before we schedule an appointment to view the interior. By simply driving by a property and investigating the neighborhood, you’ll usually know whether you want to go inside. Typically, if a house is well maintained on the exterior, it will be well maintained on the interior. Also consider the neighbors and neighborhood - visit at different times of day, see what your commute might be like, and remember that you can’t control or change the neighborhood where you choose to reside.
How to Schedule House Showings
When you’re ready to go on a property tour, just contact me in advance to schedule an appointment. I can’t wait to get out there and look at some great homes with you!