Monday, January 12, 2009

Decisions. Decisions….A Homebuyer’s Dilemma—Hundreds of Homes! How Many Should I See?

Inventory and affordability are a buyer’s dream situation. Fortunately for home buyers in the Twin Cities real estate market, that is the situation we currently find ourselves in today! As a REALTOR® specializing in lakeshore and acreage properties in Anoka County, I have had several clients with very loose selection criteria end up with several hundred homes in their initial MLS search. The amount of homes is overwhelming to the buyer going it alone. By working with an experienced REALTOR®, homebuyers can get that list of homes down to a manageable level it quick order!

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development website indicated, an average homebuyer will see 15 homes before writing an offer. In my experience this is fairly accurate. Most buyers get bored with the process after seeing a dozen or so homes. The homes start to look similar and buyers have trouble remembering keeping them all straight. In a buyer’s market, with so many choices, how does a homebuyer stay focused?

  1. Write down what you Must Have in a home. Need an attached garage? Want a fireplace? Can’t live without central air conditioning? Must have a wooded backyard? Electric heat a deal breaker? Weed out the homes that don’t fit the bill by writing down the must haves and must not haves.

  2. Select a neighborhood, area or school district. If you must be within a few miles of work or you want your children in a specific school district, make certain to specify in your criteria.

  3. Work with a REALTOR®. Although the internet searches have become specific, they are still not as detailed as the ones used by licensed agents. Real estate agents are skilled at asking questions to narrow down your needs then set detailed searches to find your dream home.
It doesn’t cost buyers anything to work with an agent in most cases and it can save time and money! Fees are most often paid for by the seller. But a REALTOR®’s service can save the buyer time and frustration.

As a case in point, I was working with a family that started looking for homes in throughout the northeast metro. When we set the initial search by map search and price point alone, they had an overwhelming 300+ homes to choose from. When questioned further, they really wanted to be within 20 minutes from work in Shoreview and relatively close to downtown Minneapolis and the airport. And, they really preferred to keep their children in the Centennial school district. After initially showing four homes, I learned from the family that a 3 car garage was a “must have” and foreclosure homes in disrepair were not going to be considered. After setting a search and reviewing the homes, I emailed the family two dozen homes that met their specific needs. They chose to see about half of the properties and after viewing the homes, the list was down to a few homes for second showings and possible offers.

Had this family chose to go it alone, they would have been overwhelmed, distracted and frustrated driving around to several homes that would never really consider. By setting specific criteria and working with me, an experienced REALTOR®, the number of homes became a manageable. The buyers remained focused and were able to narrow down to an 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 affordability and inventory so 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 never be a home that measures up. If the list of homes available is too short, reassess those “must haves”.

If you are buying, selling or relocating to Minnesota and need help from a professional REALTOR®, give me a call or visit my website for a FREE Relocation Packet or Homebuyers Success Packet. I specialize in acreage and lakeshore properties in the north and east Twin Cities metro area including Ham Lake, Lino Lakes and all communities in the Forest Lake School District! Serving Anoka, Chisago, Ramsey and Washington Counties in Minnesota.
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Copyright 2009