If you have already decided to look for your next home, but wondering how to search strategically, today I am going to share 9 tips for that, so you won’t waste your time, and make your search process more efficient and fun!!
Tip #1 Before you hop into the home search, create a "Needs" list and a "Wants" list. This will help you focus on the things that are most important in your future home.
Let’s talk about needs first. Needs are the non-negotiable features; the features you simply “must have” in your next home. Needs could be things like:
• Enough square footage for you and your family
• Sufficient bedrooms and bathrooms
• First-floor master bedroom
• Commute to work and school
• Attached two-car garage
• Grassy yard for children’s or pet’s play area
Well, don’t feel like your first draft has to be your final draft—and above all else, remember you can’t change the lot, the location, or the price you paid, so spend a good amount of time thinking through those three before moving on.
Wants are the ones you’d like to have, but you can add or change them down the road.
Wants will look more like:
• Specific paint or exterior color
• Fenced-in backyard
• Specific carpet, hardwood floors, or tile
• Kitchen amenities like countertops and appliances
• Walk-in shower or double bathroom vanity in master
• Pool, jacuzzi, or other exterior water feature
Now that you’ve got your wants vs. needs list in hand, the fun begins! It’s time to talk about narrowing down those listings and deciding which ones to see in person. Next, let’s talk about best practices for searching online. How can you get the results you want?
Tip # 2 Use the search filters but not too much.
You don’t want to restrict your search so tightly that you only have a handful of homes to view. Keeping your wants vs. needs list in mind, expand your geographic search, and add 25-50 thousand to your max price since homes often sell under asking these days.
Tip #3 If you find something that catches your eye, check out Google street view.
Online pictures can be deceiving so a virtual ‘walk down the street will give you a better sense of the house and surrounding area.
Tip #4 Don’t shy away from home because it is “pending” or “under contract.”
Pending contracts do fall through sometimes, so keep it on your list especially if it checks all your boxes.
Tip #5 Ask your agent to see if he/she has any off-market properties.
“Off-market” properties are for sale but aren’t listed on MLS. The benefit of that is: They give you additional inventory, a chance to sidestep the competition, and more opportunities to save (because when sellers decide to sell off-market, they know they will get limited buyers traffic, which means you are in a better position to negotiate with them).
Now, You’re SO READY to get inside those homes on your list and see for yourself if one of them is soon to be your new address. I know you’re excited, but you gotta go into those showing calm, cool, and with your thinking cap on. Here are a few tips for you to do just that.
Tip #6 Before a showing, read over your wants vs. needs list and revisit your budget.
Having this fresh on your mind will help you stay objective and focused. Take pictures and videos to jog your memory later and to help you process with friends and family.
Tip #7 Remember, you can’t change the lot or the location so make sure you love both.
Tip #8 Don't let yourself get distracted by the seller’s decor or staging.
These things will be gone by the time you move in, so try to stay focused on the things that cannot be changed easily, like the open-concept floor plan, size of the rooms, or brightness of the living area.
Tip #9 Take your time.
If a home makes a good first impression, let your agent know you’re interested and that you’d like to spend a bit more time looking around. This is one of the largest purchases you’ll ever make so it’s worth it to learn as much as you can while you’re there.
So that touches on a few of my tips for making your search process more efficient.
Now you should watch my next video about The top 5 things home buyers worry about when shopping for a home…but they really shouldn’t. When buying a home, there are things you need to pay attention to and things you need to ignore. I’m going to break it down for you in that video. See you next time!