Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Buyers’ Market Dilemma—200+ Homes! How Many Should I See?

The Twin Cities buyers’ market offers more housing inventory than has been seen in a decade. As a Realtor in the north metro, I have had clients with very loose selection criteria, have hundreds of homes available to choose from. The amount of homes is overwhelming to the buyer going it alone. It is important to formulate a plan of action to get that list of homes down to a manageable level.

According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website, the average buyer sees 15 homes before writing an offer on a home. In my experience this is a very accurate number. Most buyers begin to tire of the whole process after seeing a dozen homes. All of the homes start to look alike and become a jumble. In a buyer’s market, with vast options, how do you narrow down the list and focus on the best homes?

  1. Write down what you must have in a home. Need a 3 car garage? Want a gas fireplace? Can’t live without hardwood floors? Would die without central air conditioning? Write down those must haves and weed out the homes that don’t fit.
  2. Select a neighborhood, area or school district. If you must be within 5 miles of work or your kids want to be in the same school district, use this to define your search area.
  3. Work with an agent. Although the internet searches have become very detailed, they are still not as detailed as the ones used by licensed agents. Real estate agents are able to set up very detailed searches that meet specific wants and needs.
It doesn’t cost buyers anything to work with an agent in most cases. Our fees are traditionally paid for by the seller. But a Realtor’s service can save the buyer time and frustration.

As a case in point, I had a client that was looking for homes in wide area. He wanted to be within 15 miles of his work in Blaine but also relatively close to downtown Minneapolis and the airport. When we set his initial search by map search and price point alone, he had over 250 homes to choose from. After first showing four homes, I learned from this client that hardwood floors were a “must have” and foreclosure homes in disrepair were not going to be considered. After setting a search and reviewing the homes, I emailed my client 23 homes that met his needs. He chose ten for showings. After viewing the homes, we had the list down to four homes for second showings and possible offers.

Had this client chose to go it alone, he would have been overwhelmed, distracted and frustrated running to several homes that would not be considered. By setting specific criteria and working with an experienced agent, the number of homes to see became a manageable amount. The buyer remained focused and was able to narrow down his ideal home rather quickly.

So what happens if you are in a buyers market and there are no homes that are meeting all of your criteria? The beauty of a buyers market is that buyers have an opportunity to key in on more of their wants and needs for their dream home. But since no home is ever 100% perfect, if too many wants are specified, there may not be a home that measures up. If the list of homes available is too short, see if any of the “must haves” are really necessary.

If you are relocating to Minnesota, are looking for Homes for Sale in the north and east Twin Cities metro area and need help from a professional Realtor, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet. Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.

Copyright 2007 terieckholm.com