I think many potential buyers are making the home search process harder than necessary.
There are so many options online to check out new listings that buyers often don’t know where to start and tend to duplicate their efforts, causing time waste and frustration.
Once you have done the basics, planned out your wants and needs, then narrowing down your search should be simple:
- Pick one site. Find a site you are comfortable with and stick with it. All real estate sites showing active listings are getting their information for the same source, the Multiple Listing Service. The feed may arrive a little faster to one site over another but the listings are the same. Jumping from one site to another is not going to find you anything that the others don’t have.
- Set up your search criteria:
- Area. Proximity to work, school, etc. Some sites will allow you to draw a map around the area you are interested in, or you can select by name.
- Number of beds and baths. Be careful to check that when it says 2 bed, 2 baths that it is indeed two full bedrooms and two full bathrooms. Sometimes public records have not been amended to reflect the correct number of rooms. Two bedrooms may be a bedroom and a den. And sometimes two bathrooms is actually one-and-a-half bathrooms. You may also want to have a guest bathroom.
- Features. Some items to consider are:
- Style of home
- Type of home. Do you want modern or traditional? Are you willing to do work, or do you want move-in ready?
- Price. Set the maximum price. In this market it would be good to stick to the top of your price range because chances are that it will go over asking anyway.
- Homeowners dues. If you are looking for a condo you will want to consider these as they will be factored into your monthly payment.
- Floor. In a high rise do you want to be on an upper or lower floor. You may not want to be on the first floor of a condo building, or may want only to be on the top floor.
- Laundry. Some buildings do not have in-unit laundry facilities. This may be important to you.
- Pets. It is unusual, but some buildings don’t allow pets.
- Investment. This information may not be available on the listing but make sure to check that you will be able to lease your unit out. Some building do not allow it for the first year or more, and then you may be on a waiting list.
- Call a Realtor®. You may already have one, and if you do they will be doing all this work for you. I know it’s human nature to think that you may miss something, but if you have a good one they will dig down and send you all suitable options. But feel free to search your chosen site. You will educate yourself on what is available.
Many of the above criteria can be checked off in the home search area of the website. This will narrow things down to a manageable number of results.
Now the hard work is done other than actually having to make time to visit your selection. Again, working with a Realtor® will make this process easier. They will set up appointments and may end up culling down that selection after learning more about the properties.
Starting a home search is a daunting task. If you do this on your own in the beginning, then the above pointers should help. The ultimate, of course, is to have a Realtor® take off the load.
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