Real Estate & Mortgage Insights

Looking at Homes for Sale

Looking at homes for sale via the internet is fun and exciting.

At first.

After a while, it gets a little frustrating, but you've learned a lot. You have a general idea of what homes look like in the area, prices, differences in costs for numbers of bedrooms and bathrooms and you have ideas about what community you want to search.

Looking at homes online helps provide a context for what comes next.

The "real" home hunt.

Who do you take with you?

If you�re married, you take your spouse. There is always the chance you�re going to find something perfect and you cannot make a decision without your spouse. Well, you can�but you�ll probably pay for it later.

If you�re a couple, then take your partner for the same reasons.

If you�re single and buying on your own using your own money, then you can take a friend, but it isn�t necessary. You will make the final decision on your own.

No matter how old (or young) you are, don�t take a parent with you.

Apologies, and there are exceptions to the rule because parents really do want the best for you and want you to be successful. Buying a home is part of being successful and they wholeheartedly want you to buy a house, but�

�not this house, and�

�not that house.

Some psychological �thing� just does not allow your parents to totally let go (regardless of your age), and this trait exhibits itself by diluting their enthusiasm when you start getting specific about what home you want to buy.

Parents don�t do it on purpose. They can�t help it, and you can�t blame them. Yet it happens.

Oh yes. There is one other person you take along with you (hint, hint) � your experienced, capable, professional, friendly neighborhood real estate agent.

Thumbs Up � Thumbs Down

The first thing you see when house hunting is the view from the street. �Curb Appeal.� Do you like the house or don�t you? That�s an easy decision. If you don�t like it, drive on. Don�t waste your time because it is better spent looking at homes you do like.

If the home passes the �curb appeal� test, go inside and take a quick look around. Not a detailed look, just go from room to room and decide if you could imagine yourself living there. Does it meet your �wants and needs?� Don�t worry too much about paint color, carpeting, window treatments, and so on. Not yet.

If there is something obviously wrong�

�can you fix it?

Do you want to?

If you don�t like the home, then it is "thumbs down."

Tell your agent why. One of the most common frustrations about the house hunt is when agents continue to show you houses that you just aren�t interested in. The major reason that happens is because your agent does not know enough about what you want.

They will ask, and often. It may be easier to articulate exactly what you like and don't like while you are out hunting for homes.

If you give the house a �thumbs up� on that first preview, it doesn�t mean you are ready to make an offer.

It means the house deserves a �second look.�

Get out your checklist, your notepad, your digital camera or your (even better) video camera and go back inside.

Your agent (another well-intentioned and humorous hint) will tell you what to look for.

And when you do find the ideal home, make an offer, and reach a deal...? Keep your agent's phone number handy.

You've just done the easy part.

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