Some people may not know this, but I also manage my homebuying forum on About.com. This is a place where buyers and sellers come to ask questions, which members of my forum and I answer -- and it's also a place where I get a lot of my article ideas for my Home Buying & Selling website.
One of the questions submitted this week was how can a buyer find only those homes with brick exteriors. You never know what type of requirements a buyer might come up with, but I do my best to match criteria. Sometimes, buyers will have a preference for the direction a home faces. Many Land Park buyers, for example, prefer south-facing homes in Land Park, so I end up showing only those on the north side of the east-west streets. I don't know why, exactly. My home in Land Park faces north, and I like the sun in the back yard. But everybody's preferences are different.
Yesterday, an investor contacted me via email to ask if I would help him buy a home. He had strict requirements. Part of his were the home needed to have automatic sprinklers in the front and rear, plus dual pane windows.
Well, yesterday was lockbox day in Sacramento. This is when I drive around Sacramento to pick up my lockboxes on listings that closed escrow for the week. Since I returned from my Viet Nam travels, I've been battling a cold, picked up most likely from stupid, sniveling passengers on the plane home. I spent much of the morning in bed with my laptop. But life goes on. I had to get my lockboxes.
Little did I realize that one of those homes was in Folsom and the other was in Citrus Heights, a bit of a haul from Land Park. I promised those buyer's agents that I would remove the lockboxes on Saturday. So whether I felt up to it or not, coughing, sneezing and feeling overall icky, I had to live up to my promise.
After the lockboxes were safely in my trunk, I snuggled back into bed. I signed on to MLS and set up an automatic search for the investor. Some agents do not know that they can set up search parameters under "additional" that will let them finely tune the search. You can include certain features and exclude features from a search. You may severely limit the number of homes for sale if the parameters are set too tightly. For example, if a buyer tells me he wants to buy a home in Land Park for under $500,000, I'll often send homes priced up to $600,000, because overpricing is common in Land Park.
But I could not find a search function for auto sprinklers. To get around that problem, I could have selected a tighter focus on the age of the home, but not every agent fills out the profile section with auto sprinklers and some might check the box for only front sprinklers. In the end I decided that the investor can roll with the inventory. If the home he truly desires does not have sprinklers, for the right price, he can put them in.