Surely you have heard the common real estate theory that there are three things to consider when buying a house: “Location, location, location!” While there are other important factors to consider when choosing a home, answering the following questions will remind you how important location is in your decision:
- Will you be looking in urban, suburban, semi-rural or rural areas?
- Is the area sparsely populated, medium or high?
- Do you have a preference with regard to natural features like woods, hills, and lowland?
- Do you have a preference to be near water such as rivers, lakes, streams and ponds?
- How will you be commuting to work?
- How long will your commute be? Do you need to be near public transportation?
- What are the characteristics of the surrounding areas for shopping?
- Is there a central commercial district?
- Are there any shopping malls?
- Are there any supermarket shopping centers?
- Are there department stores and drug stores?
- What is the general appearance?
- Are the homes well maintained?
- What are the main types/styles of homes?
- Do the homes appear to be “newer” or “older”?
- How far apart are the houses?
- How well are the lawns maintained?
- Are there many visible property enhancements such as swimming pools, fences, decks and patios or extensive landscaping?
- Are vehicles primarily parked in garages and driveways, or are they parked on the street?
- Are there emergency personnel stations such as fire and police close by?
- How close is the nearest hospital?
- What are the local ordinances in regard to pets, parking, lawns, etc.?
- Are there airports, farms, divided highways near that will affect the re-sale value of the home?
- Are there both public and parochial schools?
- Are they equipped to handle special needs if needed?
- How do children primarily get to school?
- What is the teacher per student ratio?
- How well do students perform on standardized test scores?
- Are there after-school activities offered?
- What type of sports programs and clubs are offered?
- What is the percentage of children that graduate?
- What is the percentage of graduating students that go on to college?
- How long will your commute be?
- How many methods can you use to get there, such as walking, driving, car pool, taxi bus route, or train?
- What forms of entertainment are offered?
- What types of indoor and outdoor sports facilities are available?
- Are there public parks, country clubs, and/or sports teams close by?
- Do the neighbors socialize regularly? Do they hold block parties or picnics?
- Is there a Home Owner’s Association? What are the fees? How active are they in the community?
- Is there a PTA?
- Is there a Neighborhood Watch program in place?
- Depending on your price range, the property that you purchase may need some repairs or paint and paper.
- Now is the time to determine how much work you are willing to do on a home. Are you a handy person and willing to purchase something that may need major cosmetic repair or are you willing and able to only paint and paper to make the home your dream home?
Once you’ve gone through the process of deciding on your home’s features and amenities and sized up the neighborhood characteristics that are most important to you, there is one more task to undertake: Prioritize! Chances are that you may have to “trade in” one or more features to take advantage of others. That’s why it’s important to prioritize the “must haves”—the features and characteristics that you don’t want to compromise or trade in no matter what. Then you’ll have a definite picture in your mind of what you’re looking for, and you’ll be able to make logical choices when the time comes to decide if “this” is the home for you.
Make a list of your top 5 wants and your top 5 needs.
Convey this information to your agent.
Once you’ve evaluated your priorities, it’s time to hit the streets with your search criteria. If you’ve done your preparation to get to this point, the actual physical search for your home can be short and sweet.
Here’s the process we follow to find the homes that meet your guidelines:
The first thing we will do is put the given specifics into the computer. Within a few minutes with the aide of the MLS (Multiple Listings Service) we will be able to print out a listing of the houses that match the desired profile. This list can be prepared for you if we are meeting in person. If our initial consultation takes place on the phone, the current available listings can be emailed to you. Your search will remain in our computer for the duration of the search for your home. This will ensure that the minute a new home hits the MLS system; it will automatically be forwarded to you.
It’s finally time to go out and view some properties! We can usually see about 5 houses in an hour. Expect to be out with your agent the first time for at least 11/2 hours. This will allow us to get acquainted and to get a feel for the style of home you are looking for. Don’t be surprised if the perfect house is the first one you visit. On the other hand, do not be disappointed if, after looking at a dozen houses, you still have not found the right one for you. We will keep looking until we find the house that you want to call home!
After our first time out, your agent will have a better grasp on the type of home you are looking for. If any of your needs or wants change be sure to inform your agent as soon as possible. Openly communicating with your agent is the best way to ensure a good working relationship between the two of you. Open communication will also ensure speed and ease while looking for your dream home.
The process of viewing homes may take 3-30 days or more. Our aim is to first view everything in the area that we feel fits your needs. Once we’ve done this we can either view or rule out properties as soon as they become available to us through the MLS.
Remember, you cannot always determine the condition of a property just by looking at it on a computer screen or print out. If you are unsure about viewing the property, please take some time to drive by the property and through the neighborhood. The outside of homes and pictures and can be deceiving.
It is important to allow yourself to see the true potential of a home. Paint can always be changed as well as carpet. While looking at properties, allow yourself to get past the current owners decorating and personal items.
If there is a property that you have a bit of interest in, you should inform your agent so that they can let the listing agent know. This way if another offer comes in you will be informed of it and can act accordingly.
What if the home I want to see is a For Sale By Owner?
No problem, just write down the phone number and your agent will be happy to contact the seller on your behalf.
What if I find a home at an open house?
When going through an open house make sure you let the agent know you are working with a Zuidema Team REALTOR. If you would like to purchase this home, let your agent know right away so he/she can schedule an appointment to see it with you.