It’s very typical today for buyers to house-hunt for a year before finally getting what they want. Multiple offers will have you pulling your hair out trying to work with the lenders these days, too. Therefore, if you’ve been looking for what seems to be a very long time, there are some strategies that will help course correct your too long house hunt.
◊ How long is too long – If you’ve been working on your credit score and saving like crazy for your dream house for maybe 5 years then looking at properties for three weeks, this may seem to be an incredible amount of time. When you’re pushing the three month mark, you may want to reevaluate your needs.
If you make an offer that gets rejected, it will be agony and defeat will be outweighed only by the pain of losing your dream home. In today’s market it is quite normal to view a dozen homes over several months. Ask your agent how long local buyers are typically taking in today’s market before finding the perfect home.
◊ Find the breakdown – Figure out where your process is dragging. If you’re looking and looking and not finding exactly what you want, your expectations may be too high. It could be the matter of a champagne taste on a beer budget, or it could be that you and your spouse can’t agree on what you want. Example: The husband wants a house to fix up and the wife wants to move right in. If your agent has told you that your expectations are out of sync, you may need to consider some compromises.
Sit down and make a list with a place to grade the homes you are seeing. On a scale of 1 to 10, does the house meet your requirements for price range? Room sizes? Modern or updated wants? Does it have the number of bedrooms you’re looking for? Make sure the list is complete on all of these areas. Both of you should make a complete list and keep score. After each home, sit down again and go through your scores for all your wants and needs. This will give you a picture of what is realistic and what’s not. This technique may bring you closer to or right to exactly what will work for both of you and your family.
◊ Remember the numbers – Remember there are a lot of houses out there but you don’t have to see them all. It’s not only time consuming but it’s unproductive. Don’t go into a house thinking, “If I don’t like something, I can always keep looking”. If you find one in the price range and area you want with a lot of things you’d like to have on your list, you can still make an offer and be comforted in knowing you don’t have to see them all. One home is not going to fit all your must have’s so don’t hold out waiting to find it.
◊ What’s the deal breakers? – Go back and re-think your deal breakers. If you’ve had a lot of absolute deal breakers you’ve told your agent about, the fewer prospective homes you’ll see. Be more flexible and you’ll have a higher chance at finding the right house. Try this exercise: Your agent understands how you feel and what you want, so ask them to remove all pricing filters and send you to homes that reflect what you want. Go to open houses and to homes in the area you want to live in even if they are not on the market and ask your agent to investigate the pricing. This exercise will give you and your agent a better idea of what you want and you will get a better idea of what is in your price range.
◊ Tune-out all others – Don’t listen to people who have not bought a home in the same time frame, price range and in the same area that you are. If they are not authorities on real estate, then you shouldn’t listen to them. They will only confuse the situation. Their lack of knowledge will not stop your friends and relatives from offering their own critiques, suggestions or “what I would do if I was you” analysis of your own home buying strategies. You’ll end up being a “would be” home owner because of someone that read a headline without reading the whole article to gain the knowledge that is required to make experienced decisions like your agent can.
Take this advice and you’ll be in that special place in no time. Check your own references, double and triple check and make sure the sources are expert and up to date like your experienced agent is. Don’t let your home buying get side tracked by well meaning relatives and friends by relying on inaccurate advice.
Good luck and productive house hunting.