Best House Hunting Strategies
Searching for your dream house can be a daunting task, and most of the homes you see won’t be what you’re looking for.
Below are some great strategies to use to help you weed out the houses that are just not right for you and help you avoid common house hunting mistakes.
Have your team in place
While many house hunters think they will save money by not working with a real estate agent, there are more good reasons to work with one than not.
First, many Buyers will see a sign and call the number and see it themselves, but this might not be safe.
Second, they can end up looking at a bunch of properties that don’t meet their search criteria or price range, wasting their time.
Third, it can make Sellers think the Buyers are unrepresented and, thus, that they have the greater bargaining leverage from the get-go.
Let your Solutions agent do their job; if you drive by an interesting property your agent hasn’t mentioned to you, call them with the property address and phone number from the sign, and let them research the asking price and property details.
Nine times out of 10, your Solutions agent hasn’t sent it to you because the property doesn’t meet one or more of your search criteria. The 10th time out of 10 – your agent can escort you there and show it to you while the Seller is out of the house, and out of your hair.
Plan your time well
Allow plenty of time to walk through a house rather than rush off to the next one without giving yourself a chance to really linger when necessary.
If you find one you really like, you might spend more time there. And, with drive time, etc., it can easily take three hours to see seven houses – not to mention that you may find one you want to immediately write an offer on, which will take another hour or so.
Use one car
Avoid taking separate cars on your Buyer’s tours. Every once in awhile a hot property will come up, your Solutions agent will call you from work, and you can meet them there.
If you’re going to be driving from house to house, however, it’s a good idea to get in the car with your agent – even if it means you have to put the baby seat in their car.
This way, you don’t get separated, no one gets lost, and you can spend the time between houses debriefing and providing your agent with the feedback they need to narrow your search and hone in on your home.
Watch your liquid intake
Although there are moments that can’t be avoided, please try to not add to the need to use the bathroom in a listing if you possibly help it – especially if people still live in the house. Vacant houses are the best ones for pit stops, but, because everyone knows that, they’re also the most likely to have nothing in the way of toilet paper except a cardboard roll with a couple of spots of paper still stuck to the glue.
If you need to, plan ahead to stop in the middle of the tour for a snack and a pit stop.
Wear easy off-easy on shoes
Don’t wear lace-up shoes. Slip-ons, flip flops, etc. are ideal. Many well-prepared homes will have new carpet, and often the listing agent will have posted a “please remove shoes” sign to help keep the flooring clean.
Having to untie and tie your shoes at every house can be a huge waste of time and especially when you get to the front door of a house you really want to see.
Those paper booties some “shoes off, please” agents provide can be slippery. Avoid them; if you can’t stand the idea of walking barefoot through a house, make sure you wear socks with your slip on shoes.
Plan to explore further
Don’t hesitate to look in drawers, cupboards and closets. If you really dislike a place, you needn’t get really detailed in your viewing of a property. But if you don’t hate it, you should open every door.
Clients can sometimes miss whole rooms and large storage areas by not opening a door they assumed went to a closet. Besides, you need to know how wide and deep the real closets are, which you can’t find out without opening the door and having a look.
If you really like a place, you should also open kitchen and bathroom drawers, cupboards and cabinets. You’re not being nosy, you’re gathering information.
Rest assured that the Sellers have had ample notice to straighten up those spaces in anticipation of your poking around.
Be careful when you voice your comments
Sellers may be listening. Often, the Seller just steps outside or next door. And they don’t always understand that it’s the most interested Buyers who pick the place apart to figure out exactly what they will need to do to it to make it theirs.
If you end up in a multiple offer situation, you don’t want to have an uphill battle because you badmouthed the gaudy “artwork” the Seller had hanging in the hallway.
So, if you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Until you get in the car, and roll up the windows – then you need to let it rip so your agent can learn your likes and dislikes.
Agents have heard it all
Don’t think you can offend your Solutions agent. If you like a house, that’s great.
But if you hate anything about it, don’t hesitate to say so. Don’t be timid or polite and omit a criticism or concern you have. Doing so can result in you seeing more of the same, which is a waste of everybody’s time.