House hunting can be one of the most exciting and most intimidating processes. Do you search online or drive through your favorite neighborhoods looking for signs? Do you hire a realtor, or can you handle this task on your own? Learning how to search for a home successfully takes a little know-how.
We live in an age where we seem to have unlimited information at our fingertips. But, just like a faucet turned on full force, all of that information can be difficult to manage.
If you are ready to search for a house, contact Julia Monaghan Real Estate today. Julia’s friendly expertise will guide you through the flood of information until you land in your new home.
How to Search for a Home Without Stress
As long as you have excellent representation, finding a new house doesn’t need to be overwhelming. Here are six tips that will help you search and house-hunt without confusion.
1. Use an Expert Real Estate Agent
It can be very tempting to use a friend or family member who is just starting their real estate business. You want to help them, and you trust they will work hard for you. And they probably will.
But as a buyer, you need to make sure you have excellent protections in place when you go into contract with a seller. Several parts of the process could cause you to lose your earnest money or even be in breach of contract without these protections.
You deserve to have an expert buyer’s agent with enough experience to protect you at each step. If you choose to work with a new realtor, make sure they have a more experienced broker available to help. They should have a mentor who will help them with the legal aspects of the process.
2. Make a List
You probably have a pretty good idea of what you want in a home. A large kitchen, a three-car garage, or a quiet street might be high on your list.
Start your list with the must-haves. Some of the items that frequently fall under the non-negotiable category include:
- Certain Number of Bedrooms
- Large Yard
- Specific School District
- Drive Time to Work
Next, add other features that you’re hoping to find in a home. Maybe you’d like a corner lot or room to build an ADU in the future. Prioritize this list in the order of what is most important to you. Numbering these items helps you and your realtor to focus on the things you value in a home.
Your real estate agent will now be able to go to work searching for properties that fit or almost fit the bill.
3. Be Flexible to Stay In Your Budget
The asking price is one of the first pieces of information you get when looking at houses. Sometimes the reality of what you can buy within your budget can feel frustrating. But if you are flexible and trust your agent, you can find a gem without breaking the bank.
Portland real estate remains a seller’s market due to an extremely low inventory of homes. This situation means that many buyers have adjusted their wish lists so that they can stay under budget.
Your agent knows how to search for a home that is just outside your ideal parameters. They can find properties that meet most of your wishes, knowing that flexibility often leads to the perfect home for a buyer. At least one property will likely check enough boxes to be an excellent fit.
Expert realtors are adept at seeing and sharing a home’s potential. And if you look at each space with an open mind, you’re likely to see fantastic possibilities.
4. Use Real Estate Websites
Numerous websites provide access to listings and offer suggestions on how to search for a home. Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin are a few of the most popular options.
These online listing sites can be an excellent way to check out particular homes or neighborhoods. Some of the perks of watching real estate on these sites include:
- You can search on your schedule. Review new listings after dinner, before work, or in the middle of the night if that’s what works in your life.
- Property sites can help you get a broad sense of neighborhood price points.
- The wide variety of information available may draw your attention to home features you hadn’t previously considered.
- Listings are often easy to share with your realtor when you want more information.
While large property search sites are useful, they can also have drawbacks:
- The information listed may be outdated. That fabulous house you see could be under contract before you’ve finished swiping through the pictures.
- The data isn’t always accurate. Property sites pull information from many sources, and they don’t check for accuracy.
- Your personal information will become merchandise. Zillow, Trulia, and other property sites market your data to property sellers and real estate agents. You may find yourself with unwanted emails or texts from hopeful realtors.
- Fraud is a concern. Some scammers list homes they don’t own. In a booming real estate market, some buyers may lock down what looks like a stellar property. By the time they learn the truth, their earnest money is gone.
- Zestimates and other third-party estimates are frequently inaccurate.
5. Get to Know the Potential New Neighborhood
Are you considering buying a home in a new area? Start getting a feel for it by driving through neighborhoods or spending some time in the local public spaces. Check out the parks, schools, and shops.
See how long it will take to get to work, school, and other frequent destinations from the neighborhood you’re considering. Test these drives when you would be going so you don’t have a big surprise after moving day.
Drive through your would-be neighborhood at night to see if it still feels like a space you want to live. Check Facebook or Nextdoor for community groups for homeowners or parents. You may get a jump-start on meeting people in the community and can ask questions of potential new neighbors.
6. Utilize Open Houses
Virtual home tours are valuable tools, but seeing a property in person is ideal. Dropping by open houses in your desired area is an excellent way to search for a new home. The more homes you can see live, the easier it is to search online, as well.
Just be sure to let the agents at open houses know that you have representation. Otherwise, they may be pushy about trying to get your contact information.
7. Use Our Online Search Portal
At Julia Monaghan Real Estate, we use a state-of-the-art search portal to streamline your house hunt. It has pinpoint accuracy in what it delivers since it feeds directly from the MLS. As we input your criteria, it gives us listings to consider.
As your agent, Julia can set up searches based on lot size, price point, and even the primary bedroom location. And the search results arrive on the schedule you want, whether that is ongoing, daily, weekly, or monthly.
You also can create your own searches, tagging your favorites. Our team gets a notification when you label a favorite, helping us better understand your likes and style preferences. Reach out to Julia today to see how powerful this tool is as you search for a home to love.
Working With a Real Estate Agent Will Make Your Home Search Easier
Our passion at Julia Monaghan Real Estate is helping buyers with their house hunting. There are a lot of moving pieces, but you won’t have to wonder how to search for a home or do it alone.
We have the tools to help you find the perfect house, and we also dig deep into For Sale By Owner and other non-MLS listings outside of the traditional searches. There are gems all around, and we help you find one to love and call your own.
If you’re looking for a friendly, professional team to guide you through home-buying, contact Julia Monaghan Real Estate today. Let’s find the perfect home for you!