Fine Tuning Your Home Search

You’ve found a Real Estate professional, you’ve pre-qualified for a loan, and now the search begins.  What is it you’re looking for?  Did you know that a large portion of home buyers purchase a home that is completely different than what they told their agent they wanted?  It’s true! This causes three main problems;

  1. The search time is greatly extended
  2. The buyer gets frustrated with the agent for not showing them the houses that they want. The buyer usually going to a different agent because the first wasn’t doing a good job
  3. The agent gets frustrated because invariably the buyer changes their minds about their search several times

So how do you get around this huge pitfall of home shopping?  It’s really very simple and will only take a small portion of your time and your agents time. But it will help you fine tune your home search, ease your stress levels and cut your search time – all while helping you find the home of your dreams.

First, you will need a note pad and a pen.  Get everyone who will be living in the new home together and ask them two questions – What do we have to have in a home? and What would we like to have in our home?  Now start your list.  Must haves on one side and would likes on the other.  Everyone has a say and regardless of how “out there” the idea is write it down on one side of the list or the other.  Here is an example:

Must Have Would Like
3 bedrooms Basket ball hoop
2 1/2 baths pool
Dining room theater room
3 car garage Guest house
Fenced back yard flagstone patio

And so the list goes.  Now because you’ve already been pre-qualified for a loan, you should have a general idea of what price you are comfortable with for your purchase.  So for those of us, who don’t have all the money necessary to buy the multi-million dollar mansion – it is time to take off the blinders and remove the silver spoon.  If you have a budget of $200,000 you will probably not be getting a fly-in property with your own hanger, swimming pool and 10 car garage.  But don’t think that you can’t get some of the things that are on your would like list…  It’s time to talk to your agent.

Step two, take your list to your agent and let them look it over (here comes the hard part – are you ready) you have to listen to your agent at this time, HE OR SHE IS THE EXPERT….not your uncle, the guy you work with, your brother-in-law, or your Aunt who lives across the country.  Your agent knows the market, in the area you are looking, they have seen the homes, they know what you can reasonably expect to find in your price range.  Let them help you re-make your list into what is obtainable.  The fantasy can wait until the lottery comes in.

Step three, armed with your list, and a note book for jotting down likes and dislikes about the houses you are viewing, and a grocery bag, go out and look at three or four.  On your note pad write down the address of the home then divide the page into pro and con columns.  As you go through the houses fill in the note book.  If you come across a home that you absolutely do not like – throw the MLS print out, your pro/con sheet and any flyers on the property into the grocery bag (yep it’s trash and if it’s not in the running get it out of your hands.)

Step four, now that you’ve seen a sampling of what is out there, and your armed with your pro/con lists, it is time to re-evaluate your Must have/Would like list.  Did you see any features in the homes that you toured that you really would like?  Did you change your mind about the Ranch home because the 2 story homes have so much more yard? Do you think you can work with a open floor plan instead of having a formal living and dining room? Once you’ve re-worked your list, get it back to your agent, so that he or she can refine their search criteria and begin narrowing down your search.

You may need to repeat steps 3 and 4 a few times until you are satisfied, but it may only take once for you to find your dream home.  Following these simple steps will help you find your dream home, and in the process alleviate a little stress and frustration from your transaction.  Happy home hunting!</p