"I'LL SEND YOU AN E-MAIL WITH OUR CRITERIA!"
This trip down memory lane is inspired by Patricia Kennedy's article this a.m. about contacts from buyers who know where they want to live and buy a home, but due to a lack of market knowledge, have unrealistic expectations.
Sorry, Mr. Home Buyer, THERE ARE OFTEN ONLY TWO CRITERIA, PRICE and LOCATION. Once you have your qualified price range, the next step is finding the area with homes in that price range. THEN, and only THEN, when you have determined your area and price range, the remaining "criteria" may be irrelevant or worse, totally unrealistic.
WHAT IS THE AREA?? I recently received a call from a family seeking a buyer's agent to help them locate a home to buy in Bethesda, Maryland. Their number one criteria and the source of their decision to buy in Bethesda was the public school ranking. Since public school statistics are available on the Internet, this family had limited their search for homes by selecting the highest ranking public high school in Montgomery County.
The area of Bethesda selected was in the 20816 and 20816 zip codes. This is an area I know very well and, if experienced local real estate agents know one thing, we know that homes in Bethesda in the Walt Whitman High School cluster are some of the highest priced real estate in Montgomery County.
What makes homes in this high school cluster so high compared to other areas?
Public School Rank
Access to METRO Train
Quick commute to Embassy area of DC
Quick commute to financial centers in DC
Easy access to high tech area in Northern Virginia
High income averages
HOUSING DEMOGRAPHICS FOR 20816, 20817 areas of Bethesda, MD (all percentages approximate)
30% of residents earn $250,000 or more
45% of residents earn $150,000 or more
75% of residents earn $75,000 or more
UNREALISTIC EXPECTATIONS. Once the buyers had selected the area for their home search, based solely on the public high school rankings, the rest was up to me to find the house for them. Not a problem so far. Or, was it?? Indeed it was a problem because, while they had selected the area in which they wished to buy a home, they had no market knowledge of real estate prices in the area of choice. Next question??
WHAT'S YOUR ANNUAL HOUSEHOLD INCOME? That's a question I have no hesitation asking because it gets right to the basics of determining a realistic price range for a home search. The family was relocating to the area because the husband had accepted a job at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda. Their new income, $120,000 was going to qualify them, with a minimum down payment, for a mortgage amount of NO MORE THAN ABOUT $500,000.
DISCONNECT BETWEEN EXPECTATIONS AND REALITYoften leads prospective home buyers to disappointment. On many occasions, consumers will contact us about what to expect IF THEY ACCEPT A JOB OFFER. The transferee is anxious to relocate because the move often represents a step up the employment ladder. However, the spouce will support the move only if they can equal their existing style of living in this area. In this case, the family was relocating from a town in Illinois where their existing 4 bedroom, 3 full bath, 3,500 square ft, home on an acre of land would sell for about $250,000, the same home in Bethesda is going to sell for much more. The new home on the right on a 1/5 acre would sell for about $1,800,000 in Bethesda.
PRICES of HOMES FOR SALE IN SELECTED HIGH SCHOOL CLUSTER
Low - $569,990
High - $8,999,990
Average - $1,996,279
WHERE YOU ARE COMING FROM MAY DETERMINE WHETHER OR NOT YOU WILL AGREE TO RELOCATE. There are wide difference in income averages throughout the country. Since the Washington DC and suburbs of Maryland and Northern Virginia are high income areas, folks from southern or mid-western areas of the country are surprised to find that their new higher income will not support their present life style and home size.
BE BRUTALLY HONEST! Don't give prospective relocating home buyers false expectations about what to expect in your market area. Fact is, this family COULD find a home in MD comparable to their existing home. However, it is NOT going to be in the school district from which they began their search. Maryland public schools rank very high on national scales.
I'LL SEND YOU MY CRITERIA? About a year ago, I received a call from a gentleman in Phoenix who gave me his home search criteria. "WHERE CAN I FIND A HOME, to match my criteria??.
Answer, "IN PHOENIX."
Courtesy, Lenn Harley, Broker MD & VA, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988.
HOW WE HELP LOCAL HOME BUYERS FIND A HOME IN BETHESDA. HOW WE CAN HELP RELOCATING HOME BUYERS IN BETHESDA. Just call Lenn at 800-711-7988 and we can chat about real estate in Bethesda.
We know the neighborhoods, the values, and we will serve your interests from home search to settlement. A search for homes in Bethesda will show that homes sell quickly. Our agents will watch the market and alert you when a home is for sale. Give us a call and we'll have an agent ready to show you homes tomorrow. Contact Lenn Harley, Broker, Homefinders.com, 800-711-7988.
HOW WE HELP LOCAL HOME BUYERS FIND A HOME IN BETHESDA.
HOW WE CAN HELP RELOCATING HOME BUYERS IN BETHESDA. Just call Lenn at 800-711-7988 and we can chat about real estate in Bethesda.