Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 1/28/2019

If you’re in the market to buy a home soon, you probably have a long list of things to look for. You also are most likely focused on savings and shopping around for the best mortgage rates. You may know everything that you should do when you’re buying a home, but has anyone told you what you shouldn’t do? Read on to discover some of the worst practices of people searching for a home. 

Lack Of Research

You need to search for a home before you even set out to look at properties in person. While you’ll want to work with a realtor, you should know what you want before you start working with him. Your agent will be able to set up alerts for you that enable you to see properties put on the market as soon as they become available. This search will be tailored to your wants such as a large yard, master bathroom, or separate dining area. If you understand what your needs will cost you in relation to your budget ahead of time, working with a real estate agent will be a more fruitful experience.

Not Letting Your Real Estate Agent Do Their Job

Real estate agents are experts in the housing market. Your agent will research prices and help you to understand what a reasonable offer on a property will be. Your agent has the tools to get you the information you need to make an informed offer on a property. Sellers get insulted if an offer is well below the asking price. Trust that your agent knows what he’s talking about. 

You’ll have a close relationship with your agent throughout the house hunting process. You’ll need to make arrangements with your agent to go to open houses and home showings. Your agent will accommodate you to the best of his ability. All you need to do is communicate with them. 

Not Looking Beyond The Online Search

If you are out and about and see a property for sale that interests you, don’t assume that it’s out of your reach. Sometimes the online searches miss things. A property may include (or not include) something that you’re looking for. You can take down the address where you saw the “for sale” sign and speak with your real estate agent about it.

Skimming Over Properties

When you have the opportunity to look at a property, really take the time to view it. You can miss a lot of details by quickly going over a property due to your first impression. There’s a lot of things that you may not see if you don’t look at the details of a home as you walk through it.       

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Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 10/9/2017

There are dozens of factors to consider when shopping for a new home -- ranging from property taxes and school district quality to square footage and roof condition. As you may be discovering, balancing your priorities and meeting your family's needs can be an overwhelming process! What's Important to You? While just about everyone factors in daily commuting distance in their decision, other key needs and considerations are often overlooked. There's certainly no "one size fits all" strategy for picking the perfect house, but getting your thoughts down on paper is a good starting point. If you have children or are expecting new arrivals in the near future, your priorities will be a lot different than someone at a later (or earlier) stage in life. For example, you might want to research local hospitals to identify the best maternity care options. Being close to public parks, playgrounds, and nursery schools would also be highly desirable for young families. Depending on your lifestyle, you might also prefer a home that's not too far from restaurants, concert venues, and movie theaters. If physical activity and sports are a big part of your life, then nearness to golf courses, tennis courts, and hiking trails might be worth considering. Other Convenience Factors You may have noticed in perusing real estate ads that many of them mention proximity to major highways, public transportation, and local airports. Whether your goal is to explore the region or simply navigate your way to doctors' appointments, job interviews, shopping centers, or business meetings, access to a variety of transportation options can make life a lot less stressful. By clarifying the features and conveniences in a home that are most important to you, your overall satisfaction with your final choice will be a lot higher. That's not to say that you shouldn't stay somewhat flexible in your requirements. Virtually all real estate purchases involve a few trade-offs and compromises. For example, if an urban lifestyle appeals to you, then a two-car garage and large backyard are probably not going to be part of the package. As far as the actual layout and design of your living space, key features which could make your daily routine easier are a first-floor laundry room, spacious closets, and easy-to clean, energy-efficient windows. For some people, the ideal home may include a rec room, a workshop, and a home office. A lot depends on your past experiences, your goals, and your personal passions. Having the ability to predict future needs will be invaluable in choosing a home that you and your family will be delighted with for years to come. Comparing Features and Amenities When you stop and think about your "wish list," your "must haves", and the dozens of property features you'll be evaluating, it underscores the importance of being methodical and organized. If those two qualifies are not among your personal strengths, don't worry! Your real estate agent can provide you with guidance, checklists, and day-to-day help in evaluating and comparing the many property choices available to you.

Posted by Mary-Lou McDonough on 1/30/2017

Smart online house hunting actions save money and more. Face it; searching for the right house is time consuming, requiring detailed thought, clarity and patience. The more clearly you visualize what you want in a house, not only structurally but also in regards to the amenities that you want, the better you can communicate these details to your realtor. It certainly is an improvement over the way house hunting worked years ago when you would search a newspaper or realtor paper listing to find homes for sale. It was that or ask colleagues, friends and relatives to let you know about houses that they’d seen for sale in neighborhoods where you want to live. Let Technology Improve Your House Hunting Efforts Thanks to technology, you can shorten the house hunting process by searching for your next home online. Real estate agencies and real estate listing services include exterior and interior photos of houses that they are selling. Click on videos that are included with real estate listings. Depending on how the real estate agency sets up its homes for sale listings, you can search for houses by zip code, size, price and type. To get a good visual feel, you may be able to walk through available homes online similar to how you would physically walk through a unit during an open house. Start your online house hunting by watching videos that focus on the house’s curb appeal. Pay attention to the size and condition of the lawn, the front walkway and the porch. Notice if the current homeowners have put enough care into their house to plant flowers or greenery outside. Homeowners who take special care of their exterior property likely invest in their home's interior. Then, follow the video into the foyer or living room. Features to consider include how far the front door is from the stairs, if the house has an open floor plan, if the floor is carpeted, hardwood or tile and the types of windows in the house. Check out the bedrooms and bathrooms. Are there any en-suites? What about a master bathroom? Some houses are built with the washer and dryer in the bathroom or kitchen. If you want a separate laundry room, you’ll want to note the location of washer and dryer hookups as you continue your online house hunting. If there’s an option to connect with a realtor via chat as you engage in online house hunting, consider doing so. It’s a good way to get your questions answered in real time. If you’re not in a hurry to move, you could explore five to ten a week online. Create a spreadsheet, listing each house’s features, room sizes, amenities and costs, so that you can compare houses side by side. After you narrow the numbers of houses that you’re serious about buying down to ten or fewer, reach out to your realtor. Determine how much you can afford to spend on a house before you travel with your realtor to view the first house. This includes knowing how much you are willing to contribute to closing costs and how much you can put down on the house. Online house hunting could help to take guesswork out of finding a new home while saving you gas money, time and frustration.