Some people have all the luck. I’ve known a few of them. We go to one house they saw online – we look at 1 or two comparable homes around Seattle, but they knew the first one was the house for them before they even saw it. They put in an offer, it’s accepted the same day, and they move in 30 days later. Sounds great, right?
However, most recent home buyers have house-hunting stories that are on the other side of the spectrum. Year long house hunts, several offers, waiting for short sale responses, bidding wars (yes, there are bidding wars going on), and frustrating hoops to jump through with bank negotiations are all much more typical.
If you’re wondering how long a house hunt typically takes – I won’t make you read too much longer: it’s about 12 weeks according to a study by the National Association of REALTORS (R).
If you’re currently looking for a home and haven’t found one yet, I’ve put together a series of suggestions to help keep the home search on track. Keeping checking back, I’ll be posting my top 5 suggestions on how to prepare (or re-assess) your house hunt:
1. Be Prepared to Act. (Read this post by clicking here)
2. Be Prepared for Rejection. (Read this post by clicking here)
3. Be Prepared to have Realistic Expectations. (Read this post by clicking here)
4. Be Prepared to limit your “deal-breakers”.
The more absolute deal-breakers you’ve specified to your real estate agent, the fewer homes we’ll be able to send you. Flexibility allows higher chances to find something you like. There are often times when people absolutely, 100% require something like – 4 bedrooms in their new home. But then I send them a 3 bedroom plus an office in the exact location they want to be in – and they love it.
If you think your agent simply doesn’t understand what you want, ask them to simply send you homes that reflect what they think you are looking for. You’ll get a good idea of the type of homes you are communicating that you are interested in…and the price ranges they are in. You may find that the home you’ve been asking your agent to find is double your current budget! No wonder they couldn’t find it! Alternatively, drive around and find homes for sale or visit Open Houses that you think are closer to what you want – then investigate their list prices, or send the addresses of “suitable” homes that aren’t for sale to your agent to find out what that house would go for today.
These exercises will get you and your agent communicating on the same page; will help you understand tradeoffs, wants and needs more concretely; and will very likely help you understand what you can expect from a property at various price ranges. This strategy is especially useful for reality-checking your expectations if you are relocating to the Seattle area from an area with a lower cost of living.