House Hunting Like a Pro

Depending on how well you prepare, trying to find your next home can either be a rewarding or extremely frustrating experience. Here are a few ways that you can start your search on the right foot and do your house hunting like a pro.

A successful real estate search involves thorough preparation, good communication, and knowing what you can live without. Columbus is currently seeing a strong seller’s market, which means that there are too many buyers and not enough homes for everyone. For buyers, that means you need to be fast and efficient during your home search, because if you dawdle, someone else is going to step in and make an offer on the home you’re thinking about.

Here are five ways to approach house hunting like a serious buyer who isn’t new to the world of real estate.

1. Know what you want. This is the most important step if you want house hunting to be a breeze. Before you even start looking at homes online, you need to come up with a list of features that you need, would like, and wouldn’t like in your future home. Knowing what you want and what you don’t want will prevent you from wasting time looking at properties that won’t meet your criteria.

2. Know how much you can afford to spend. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage shows sellers that you’re a serious buyer, which is extremely important in a highly-competitive market like the one we’re currently seeing in Columbus and the surrounding areas. Additionally (and arguably more importantly), it lets you know exactly how much you can afford to spend on a home. Knowing that amount will prevent you from wasting time looking at homes that are out of your price range.

Note that just because you’re pre-approved for a certain amount doesn’t mean you have to spend that entire amount on your home. Do your own calculations and find out how much you can afford to spend on a mortgage payment and still be able to be comfortable financially. You don’t want to put in an offer for a home and realize too late that you’ll have zero wiggle room in your budget.

3. Give thorough feedback to your real estate agent. Let your real estate agent know specifically what you like and dislike about the homes that you see so that he or she can narrow down the search parameters. Giving generic feedback (e.g., “We just didn’t like that one”; “It’s just not for us”; or “That one looks nice!”) doesn’t help either side. Your agent won’t really know why you didn’t like that home and might show you another property that also has the real reason you aren’t interested in the home. Be specific and thorough.

4. Leave enough time for showings. It seems like a smart idea to see as many homes as possible in as short a time as possible, but you’ll run the risk of having to speed through homes or getting tired and not viewing the later homes with a clear head. Make sure you leave enough time to slowly assess and form an opinion on each home without having to rush to the next one. Leaving time also allows you to discuss things with your agent and to give them detailed feedback about the properties as you go.

5. Be willing to compromise. Unfortunately, the reality is that you might not be able to find your dream home within your budget, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t great properties that you might like just as much. If you refuse to budge on the list of things you want (especially if your budget is limited), chances are that house hunting is going get very frustrating very quickly. You don’t have to compromise on everything, but knowing the things that you can live without will help your hunt go much further.

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Tamara Oakley is a hardworking real estate professional based in the Columbus, Ohio area. As a top Listing and Selling Agent at Coldwell Banker King Thompson and a 2015 recipient of the Columbus REALTORS®’ Twenty-Five Million Dollar Club Award, Tamara understands the importance of staying knowledgeable and informed about the ever-changing climate of real estate.

She is committed to continuous growth and stays up-to-date with real estate trends and new information so that she can provide superior service to her clients. That, in combination with her local expertise, have allowed her to become the highly-skilled agent that she is today.

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