Secrets Of A Successful Home Search

Secrets Of A Successful Home Search

I have walked through hundreds, if not thousands, of homes, mostly with people considering buying that home. The fact is that no home turns out to be perfect for anyone, even if one builds a house from scratch. One may have spent months designing it and many more months building it. After living in that house for a few months, one may discover some slight variance that would have been nice. That is human nature. This phenomenon holds particularly true when large families are involved.

Make a list

Start your home search by preparing a comprehensive list that has two categories. The longer and more detailed the list, the more beneficial it will be. The more effort and thought you put into making this list, the smoother and more productive your home search will be. Avoid rushing. Be thorough and detailed.

You will avoid aggravation and save thousands of dollars by making this list and then using it correctly. With this list, you will quickly recognize the house that will meet most of your requirements, and you will be able to acquire it at a price that will make sense.

Two categories of the list

Make essentials the first category of the list. Under this category, itemize each feature you must have in your new home. Make desirables the second category. Here, enumerate what you wish to have in your home.

For example, your minimum requirement is three bedrooms but having a fourth one will be nice. In that case, three bedrooms will go in the essentials category, and the fourth will be in the desirables category. If you want a home office yet can live without one, that will go in the desirables category.

The next step is to attach a value, between one and five, to each item in the two categories. Five is to be the highest, and one is to be the lowest. This part of the process can take time and be fun. 

Select the neighborhood you want to live in:

You are almost ready to get in the car and look at houses in person. It is not only the house that must meet your needs and desires – it must also be in the right neighborhood. Technology has made house hunting a lot easier than it used to be. That goes for communities as well.

Start with a Google map search. You can assess a great deal by looking at a location and its surroundings on a map. Then work your way through to websites that will give you extensive information about the communities in that desired area. Use one or more websites to research the following:

  • Housing data
  • Livability scores
  • Cost of living
  • Amenities
  • Crime rate
  • Education
  • Transportation
  • Employment opportunities
  • Median rents and home prices
  • Percentage of rentals & owner-occupied homes
  • Weather

After finishing the online research, it is time to do some fieldwork. Spend several hours in your selected top two or three neighborhoods. Stop by at the local grocery store, the local park, and a local café. Engage in casual conversations with some folks living there. Ask them about the neighborhood and what they like or dislike about it. There is nothing better than hearing from the people who live there. This exercise will give you a sense of the place and first-hand information on which to base your decision.

Find your dream house

So, now, you have settled on your desired neighborhood. The list you made tells you precisely the kind of house you want to acquire. You also have a clear idea about the concessions you might have to make regarding your essentials and desirables.

Almost all home searches start on the internet nowadays. There is a plethora of real estate-related websites that you can use to search for homes. These websites fall into two main categories. Some sites are owned and operated by real estate brokers and firms, like Re/Max, Keller Williams, and Redfin, to name a few. 

These sites provide information about homes on the market and the company whose site it is, attempting to capture your business. Here is a sample of a refreshingly different website

The other category is real estate advertising sites, like Craigslist, Facebook Marketplace, and Zillow. These sites are in the advertising business and use real estate properties as their niche to generate traffic and revenue. Home sellers can advertise for free on these sites, and homebuyers can check out what is available. 

You can register and search on several sites at the same time. Regardless of the website you choose to initiate the search, you must keep the home search process separate from evaluating the real estate broker you will hire. 

Get Professional Representation

 Hire a seasoned, licensed real estate professional to help you through various steps of your home acquisition. What will keep you from hiring a top-notch professional? Will you ever go to court without proper representation?