Finding a property

There are a variety of approaches to finding a house that have proven successful. Each buyer has requirements that must be satisfied, but often people are unclear about their priorities until the search process has clarified the tradeoffs. Most people start their search with a general notion of what cities they like, often because they are aware of which cities offer the best schools, the best downtown shops and restaurants or the best proximity to where they work. We suggest that if there is an attribute that you absolutely must have, such as highly rated schools, find out where the best schools are, and use that information to limit your choice of search areas. If there are other characteristics that you would like to have but do not regard as essential, perhaps a good view or being within walking distance of a shopping area, then note where these things are available within the larger area that your must-have conditions are satisfied.

The foregoing may seem obvious, but experience has shown us that commonly people start by choosing a couple of cities that they think will likely satisfy their needs, and then narrow the search to their favorite neighborhoods. This can work well, but may not offer the array of choice or the ideal match to the client that the attribute-based method does. Whichever initial process you use, the next step is to familiarize yourself with the selected areas. Your agent will be familiar with local neighborhoods and can save you time by helping you eliminate areas that have little promise of meeting your requirements, but ultimately, you will have to get in the car and both physically visit a number of properties in various areas before the tradeoffs will become clear. The convenience of everyday activities needs to be evaluated in different areas. How long does it take to get to work? Can the kids walk home from school? Are there good cafes, restaurants, libraries, parks, etc. nearby? Prefer older houses? You can specify your search so that you don't have to sift thorough listings for recently built houses. Only want a brand-new house? You can specify that as well. Would you like to have a family room, but might consider an otherwise good house lacked a family room? You can set the level of preference in your search so that houses with family rooms will come to the top of your search results, but houses that lack family rooms will still appear lower down. This kind of user-customized searching is not even possible to subscribers to the MLS.

In the process of familiarizing yourself with different neighborhoods, you will probably go to quite a few open houses and also visit a selection of properties with your agent, before you are in a position to be serious about making an offer. We believe that it is essential for buyers to become extremely knowledgeable about the neighborhoods in which they plan to buy. You may expect your agent to invest considerable time in helping you develop that knowledge.



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