January 30, 2009

Becoming a serious Buyer

ASK the Expert

Q My husband and I have been casually looking for houses for sometime. Now we are very serious about buying. How can we narrow down our choices?
A There are so many wonderful properties on the market right now, I am glad you are thinking in this direction. The fact is you just have to create a mental filter.
First, decide what features of the house you must have. This is sometimes different than deciding on location or neighborhood. What features of the house itself do you require? To take an obvious example if you have two children and you need three bedrooms, it really doesn't matter how much you like the neighborhood if the house isn't right. On the other hand if you would like a spa bathroom, but you find a three bedroom house in the right neighborhood at the right price, will the lack of a spa be a deal killer? If so, then a spa bathroom is something you require.
That brings us to the next filter. What would you like to have in a house but could live without? These items can constitute a tie breaker. For example, if you want a 2-acre lot and you would like to have a large fenced area for your dog, then if you are deciding between two acceptable houses, the one with the fence might cinch the deal.
Finally, you come to a list of 'absolutely nots.' This is the most important list to the real estate agent, who will then have an idea of where not to look. Be sure your list of absolute negatives are accurate.
If you build your mental filter before you begin to look, then you probably won't have to look too long at too many houses. But if, after searching, you still haven't found something, you might take time to reexamine your priorities.
When you do find a house that meets your priorities and makes you heart beat fast, take it! Don't wait to see if there is another dream house around the corner. When you see your dream, snag it!

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