How to avoid an endless house hunt
Find the right neighborhood first
Leslie Mann, an agent with Hallmark Sotheby’s International Realty in Massachusetts, tells clients to focus on the community first, then talk houses.
"What we find, over the years, is those clients end up happier," she says.
Give yourself a deadline
Margot MacKay and her husband were striving to meet a deadline and were motivated to vacate their rental. Even though they wanted their "forever home," they became consumed and expeditious.
"It forced us to really be honest with ourselves in terms of what we wanted," MacKay says. They were able to make their first offer within weeks, and say they are now happy with their new home outside Philadelphia.
Try the eye-doctor approach
Some agents, after showing two homes, ask their clients, "If you had to choose between those two?" After the next viewing, the agent repeats the question, using the last pick and the new home.
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It not only narrows the search, it gets everyone to break down what they did and didn't like. A good agent listens closely.
"I'm trying to prevent people from being disappointed," Karr says. "You don't waste time looking at things that you're not qualified for."
Last — but not least — choose a good agent
The right agent can make all the difference.
Try this idea, from Bray: Tell a prospective agent exactly what you're looking for and ask to see three houses. Do the homes meet at least the minimum guidelines you set out?
"If they can't even get it for the test situation, maybe it's time to move on to another agent," Bray says.
How long is the average hunt for a house?
According to a 2009 survey by the National Association of Realtors, the median buyer shopped for 12 weeks and looked at 12 homes.
"If you look at a dozen homes, you feel like you've told the agent what you want — if you're not making a decision in that amount of time, you're probably not a good decision-maker," says Walter Molony, a spokesman for the NAR.
Demand what you want, and ignore the whines of any agent. Its a business transaction, not a hippy lovefest.
Just finished up my house hunt, best advise I can give is this, if it's a short sale and the bank has not preapproved - don't even look at it. Offers take several weeks before they are even considered and most are rejected.
Just don't move to Lansing or Detroit and you'll do just fine. Still some parts of Detroit aren't all that bad. Besides, in Michigan, you can get this thing called a Concealed Pistol License.
Oh and cost of living is almost nothing now... You can get a really nice, 3 bedroom home, move in condition for $50,000 and at least 1200 sq ft. Heck... I saw a place with an acre, 5 bedroom, 3 bath, 2 story, 2700sq ft for $37,000!