When you’re looking for a new home, it’s almost like you’ve picked up a second job. And that’s the way it should be. The time it takes to really evaluate the homes for sale in your desired area is a good precursor for the financial investment you are about to make. There are two main steps in your process of finding appropriate homes for sale. The obvious first one is to locate them- not as simple as it sounds. The second step is to evaluate those homes for sale with a good set of criteria.
Locating Ideal Homes for Sale
The biggest problem isn’t locating homes for sale, it’s locating the right homes for sale. You know the methods- drive through neighborhoods, online MLS listings, work with a realtor, scan the classifieds, and stock up on real estate homes for sale magazines. The issue can be one of there being too many homes for sale to even know where to start. Hiring a realtor can give you another set of legs to eliminate stale and out of date listings and other inappropriate properties. But don’t think that hiring a realtor lets you off the hook completely. Even if you do choose to work with an agent, it will be in your best interest to always be on the look out for homes for sale on your own. Here’s why.
It’s in your realtor’s best interest to sell you the pricier home. Now honestly, a difference of a few thousands dollars may not make that big a difference in commission. But even the most honest realtor may not consider looking for deals below your stated price range of homes for sale. The other factor is that only you really know what you want in the homes for sale you see. You may have told your realtor that you really need 4 bedrooms. But once you see that sprawling lawn of an otherwise perfect 3/2, your priorities could change. So take advantage of a realtor to help you sort through the numerous homes for sale, but keep looking anyway.
Assessing the Homes for Sale
Maybe you know exactly what you want in the homes for sale that you tour. Or maybe you’re still trying to decide what your highest priorities are. Older house, lower cost- newer house, less maintenance? Since everyone’s priorities are different, one of the best tools for assessing homes for sale is to create your own evaluation form. Make it out by hand, or design a simple spreadsheet. But make a few copies of the form and take it with to assess the homes for sale you are interested in.
Items to include on your Homes for Sale Assessment Form:
• Structural and Maintenance concerns- Has the home been well maintained? Any signs of wood or water damage? Mold?
• Amenities- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms, kitchen and storage requirements, yard care and size, extras like sunrooms, garages, sheds or pool
• Locale- Proximity to schools, stores, busy streets, your job, your family, type of neighborhood…
• Red flags- How does the property handle drainage? Are there dumps or industrial areas nearby? Dangerous traffic areas, crash zones, on-going construction?
Primarily knowing what you want and having a way to compare the homes for sale you visit will put you in a better position to make your final buying decision. In the process of buying a home, it is the most informed buyers who end up happy homeowners.