Hello and welcome to my blog, Real Estate Reality.  This is where we talk about the Reality of the Real Estate market, not just the fluff you read online or in a newspaper.  Today I wanted to talk about house hunting.

Looking for a home, whether it is your first home or your tenth can be a frustrating event.  I assure you it does not have to be.

Let’s get a few of the basics out of the way.   Once you have made the decision to buy a home your first step is meeting with a lender to find out just how much you can afford to buy.  Nothing is more frustrating than looking at homes, finding one you can’t live without, only to discover you can’t qualify for a loan of that size.   Ask friends for a lender they were pleased with or talk to a Realtor for some suggestions.   Asking a Realtor for a few names of lenders is a good place to start since many Realtors have worked with numerous lenders and can help you find one that specifically fits your needs.

Now that you have been “Pre Approved” for a loan amount you can begin shopping.   First decide the size home you need.  How many bedrooms, bathrooms, garage and lot size and most importantly which neighborhood you want to live in.   OK, now you want to sit down with your Realtor and begin sharing with him/her the minimum criteria you need to be satisfied.   Keeping an open mind and a broad search will help.  You want to see as many homes as you can.  The more you see, the easier it will be to spot that dream home.    This needs some commitment.  In many respects it is like another job.  Set a time frame and work it.  If you have a Realtor that can’t give you the time you need, it’s essential to choose a Real Estate Agent that will make your needs a priority.

Unless you are buying new construction, please understand that no resale home is going to be perfect.  There will be some details that are just not your taste.  Hot pink walls in the family room might not be what you had in mind but it’s nothing a can of paint won’t easily fix.  Paint and carpet are the two items that buyers most often want to change.  When you see listings your Realtor sent you don’t bypass the ones with only a few pictures or the pictures don’t look like that home is for you . . . Go Out And Look!  It is your second job now and you need to see as many homes as you can.  Now, if you enter a home and you can immediately tell that this home is not for you, just tell your Realtor you would like to go to the next one.  There is no point in spending valuable time looking at a home you would never buy.

While looking, make some notes.  Also, if you’ve seen 4 homes and two of them could work but the other two are definitely not what you want, just throw those listings away.  Always ask yourself is this house as nice as the last one.  If the answer is no, toss the other one away.  Otherwise you’ll end the day confused, unsure of which homes were your favorites.  Ideally you go home with no more than 2 or 3 homes to review.  At that point you might want to make a second visit to those three and narrow it down some more.   There are plenty of homes for everybody.  The buyer that looks at the most will most likely have the easiest time with the least amount of frustration.  If you have a questions or comments, please don’t ever hesitate to leave them for me.

Until next week Happy House Hunting . . . 

Elie Morris, Realtor