Time to get in the car!
Congratulations! You called that lender and got a pre-approval letter for a mortgage! Now we’re ready to get in the car and look at homes together (the fun part). Here are some things to consider when deciding which homes to look at.
Millions of new and existing homes are sold each year. There’s no shortage of housing options, but with so many choices the challenge becomes finding the property which best meets your needs.
The housing market is complicated because the stock of homes for sale is always in flux. If it were possible to have a complete list of every home for sale at this very moment in a given community, such a list would become obsolete within seconds as new homes become available and properties now for sale are put under contract.
In effect, buyers are looking at a moving target in a marketplace that is never static. Because of this, it is important to know as much as possible about the choices in preferred markets, and the way to do that is by working closely with us, your agents, who have a good lay of the land.
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What are you looking for?
A home is more than just a collection of bedrooms and bathrooms. Several properties — each with four bedrooms, three baths, and the same price — may well represent radically different designs, commuting distances, lot sizes, tax costs, interior dimensions, and exterior finishes.
Each of us is different and so it’s important to list the features and benefits you want in a home. Consider such things as pricing, location, size, amenities (extras such as a pool or extra-large kitchen) and design (one floor or two, colonial or modern, etc.).
Next, it’s important to consider your priorities. If you can’t get a home at your price with all the features you want, then what features are most important? For instance, would you trade fewer bedrooms for a larger kitchen? A longer commute for a bigger lot and lower cost?
Lastly, consider your needs in several years. If you’ll need a larger home, maybe now is the time to buy a bigger house rather than moving or expanding in the future. If you expect your income to increase, perhaps you should consider a more expensive home financed with a loan program where monthly payments increase in the future.
Where should you look?
All neighborhoods and communities have a special nature that gives them identity and value. One community may be well known for historic homes while another offers both suburban living as well as easy access to downtown office areas.
We have access to thousands of homes online. Our website, www.carolcowan.com is a fantastic place to begin. We have a search tool that draws information directly from the same multi-listing service all agents in the area use. It’s a terrific source for property information, online or off. Just click “Search” to get started!
Some like to search by looking at listings on the basis of location or price; others prefer to have us suggest properties; and many buyers prefer both approaches.
Regardless of your choice, it’s important to target your search. By using basic measures such as general location and affordability, you can refine your search and focus on homes that offer the most desirable features.
As a guide, you should maintain a file with information on each of the homes you like. You can print out listing pages from those you find while searching on our site and then make notes for each one — what you like, questions, nearby schools, data, etc.
We will often identify together a collection of homes to look at during a day. We’ll meet you there or pick you up to go look. Each house is secured with lockbox, with access only permitted to agents. This helps keep the home for sale secure from intruders. So, we accompany you to each house and help you identify good (and bad) features of each house. During this process make sure you let us know exactly what you like and do not like about each home. It helps us narrow in on just the right home for you. But don’t worry, we take keep a file for you of each home you’ve seen and take detailed notes to help us both remember what you did or didn’t like about each home you visit.
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