Helping Your REALTOR® Narrow Down Your Home Wants and Desires

Real Estate Agent with Las Cruces Homes and Land

We spent the weekend with a very nice couple, looking at homes that would fit their family of 7. They have special requirements since Grandma lives with them. Since they live about 4 hours away from Tucson and have very active lives with their 4 kids, we have to see as much as we can when they get a chance to come into town.

As we were wrapping up our tour yesterday, the Mom made a comment to us regarding the school districts. She wanted to make sure that her two youngest were able to go to the same school. This was a new revelation. We had everything else on their list plugged into a search portal for them except for the school requirement. How did we miss that? In retrospective, it wasn't brought up by any of us but all is well as it's not a hard requirement to fill.

That got me to thinking about how we as REALTORS® do our discovery beyond the usual "How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need or want?". We all have our methods - a long list of questions that we ask in the initial interview or via emails, listening as we go on tours, and so on.  But, trust me when I say this, that it is possible for us to miss something.  Yesterday, the Mom said, "Oh, I thought I mentioned that!".

It's easy to get very overwhelmed during your home search. You start out with your list of "gotta haves" and "would like to haves" and we do our best to search for that perfect home. Chances are, we are going to ask you to re-look at those lists and trim it down a little. Realistically, you probably won't get EVERYTHING you want. Being able to re-work the list is a huge step for all of us.

Yesterday's comment made me realize how important it is to have a written down list from my clients.  It's something we can go back to and check instead of saying, "Did we mention that?".

My personal list has the following. Everyone is different, of course and certain things may be more important in different areas of the country - like fireplaces and basements.

The basics would include:

* Minimum to maximum price
* Square footage of house (minimum/maximum) and levels - 1 story or more
* Lot size
* Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
* Size of garage - 2, 3 or more car garage
* New build/Newer home or older home
* Preferred location(s) in town (If you are an out of town buyer and haven't been to town yet, knowing where you will be working will help just as much)
* School District/school requirements
* Special needs accessories - handicap converted bathrooms, ramps to the home

Extras/Wanna Haves that aren't deal breakers:

* Pool/Spa
* Workshop in garage/backyard
* Storage for toys like RV's, ATM's (Some HOA's do not allow RV's to be parked in neighborhoods)
* Stainless steel applicances in kitchen
* Style of flooring - hardwood, carpet, tiling, pergo


This list could go on and on and on but these are the basics that I ask a new client. Chances are, and it's happened in the past, that the client will need something that's on my Extra's list. One client needed a pool for his son's therapy.

The point to all of this: Do not hold back on your needs/wants for your new home.  We will do our very best to fulfill your wishlist but be prepared for your REALTOR® to ask you to re-hone your list. We do have your best interest at heart and want to help you find that perfect home.

(And, just for the record - fireplaces in the master bedroom seem so romantic and so wonderful but odds are, you'll use it maybe a handful of times, especially in the desert Southwest. I had one and used it a total of one time during the 5 years I owned that home. I always looked at the space where the fireplace was and wondered if I could tear it down and get more storage!)



Comments (17)

Samantha Smith
214.422.0729 - Rowlett, TX
Sam I Am Houses, Simply Texas Real Estate

So true! I actually keep the notes that I take when I 1st talk w a client/prospect & keep referring to it as the house hunting process continues. It's proven to be very helpful.

Jul 25, 2011 06:12 PM
John Davison
Coldwell Banker - Cary, NC
Raleigh-Cary-Triangle NC

I've always believed that the time I spend getting to know my clients personally, often helps more than the standard punch list of "items" or "criteria".  Learning about a person's character, their passions and desires, their likes and dislikes, can often assist me more than anything else in the counseling process.

Jul 26, 2011 04:44 AM
Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Emmary, that is a great check list. Schools in particular are always important to parents with children.

Jul 26, 2011 05:05 AM
Marilyn Robertson

Excellent advice! A form helps buyers remember and prioritize wants and needs. Using more than one sense helps everyone remember the data. As shopping for the home evolves, changes can be made to the form. Everyone is on the same page!

Jul 26, 2011 05:10 AM
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

This is a really good comprehensive list. I'm going to borrow it and not give it back. LOL         

Jul 26, 2011 06:20 AM
Gabrielle Kamahele Rhind
KGC Properties LLC, Tucson Property Management & Real Estate - Tucson, AZ

HI EMMARY!  Congrats on the feature!  Well - being a mom - this is typically the first of the basics with clients.  However, I have had "Oh didn't we mention.." moments.  One in particular related to the husband needing to have a house close to freeway access.  Did that ever narrow down their choices!  Nice nice list for us all to know!

Jul 26, 2011 06:42 AM
Scotti Jowers
CENTURY 21 Shackelford French, Search West Monroe Homes - West Monroe, LA
Realtor - West Monroe, Louisiana Homes for Sale

Congrats on the feature, Emmary! What I love is when a client tells you that they want a home with some acreage, maybe an older, country style home with character and then they go out and find a recent model home in a subdivision and fall in love!

Jul 26, 2011 09:14 AM
Emmary Simpson
Las Cruces Homes and Land - Las Cruces, NM
Serving Las Cruces, NM

Sam - I try to keep an index card or similar with me during the initial house search because we all know that cool features show up that none of us have thought of!

John - Great point! As we get to know clients, we see them opening up a little more to us as their comfort level grows!

Gary - I'm not a parent but I always - ALWAYS - make sure schools is the next question I ask after the initial size/number of bedrooms/bathrooms question

Marilyn - The list has really helped in situations where we've come to a stop in the home seach - where none of the homes have caught a buyer's interest. We pull that list out again and go over it to re-evaluate it.

Sandy - LOL! Feel free to!

Gabrielle - Thank ya! I love those "Oh didn't we mention" moments - it gives us all a good giggle usually!

Jul 26, 2011 09:22 AM
Emmary Simpson
Las Cruces Homes and Land - Las Cruces, NM
Serving Las Cruces, NM

Scotti - Oh I know it! I mixed things up in the past, telling a client that "I just want you to see this style" and have had them have a light bulb moment! :)

Wikipedia: Scoti - Scoti or Scotti was the generic name used by the Romans to describe those who sailed from Ireland to conduct raids on Roman Britain. »

Jul 26, 2011 09:23 AM
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


Good list which I am going to use.  Thanks for the information and making dealing with buyers easier.

Jul 26, 2011 11:36 AM
Christine Koch
eXp Realty - San Antonio, TX
Realtor - eXp Realty San Antonio TX

Emmary, This is a very good list you have made.  Many buyers do not realize how many wants and needs they really have!

Jul 26, 2011 11:52 AM
Eileen Hsu
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY

Often you have to take somebody out at least once and during the appointments you can find out those other priorities they have in their search.  Sometimes there is only so much you can find out on a phone call or in an email, that face to face discussion is a great opportunity to find out everything that is most important to the buyer.

Jul 26, 2011 11:59 AM
Emmary Simpson
Las Cruces Homes and Land - Las Cruces, NM
Serving Las Cruces, NM

Evelyn - You are quite welcome!

Christi - So true!  Sometimes they don't think beyond the standard stuff and, when they start looking around, they see things that they want! (How are things in Las Cruces?)

Eileen - I completely agree with you! There's only so much you can get from non in-person communication. Little things like facial gestures that mean "ew - I don't like that" can really make a difference!

Jul 26, 2011 01:17 PM
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Hi Emmy, you're right. We can have clients tell us everything that they need in a house, that they want in a house, and once we view a few homes, it inevitably changes. We know it will, but they don't, until it does.

Jul 26, 2011 04:23 PM
Karen Crowson
Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage - Rancho Bernardo, CA
Your Agent for Change
And with more than one decision maker you may find that your clients have conflicting interests. Helps to get them on the same page.
Jul 26, 2011 04:56 PM
Ruthmarie Hicks
Keller Williams NY Realty - 120 Bloomingdale Road #101, White Plains NY 10605 - White Plains, NY

This is a great list....I run into this a lot with buyers who keep changing the critieria.

Jul 26, 2011 04:59 PM
Emmary Simpson
Las Cruces Homes and Land - Las Cruces, NM
Serving Las Cruces, NM

Eric - it happens more times than not!

Karen - Absolutely! Getting a couple on the same page can be trying at times.

Ruthmarie - I find that this helps them clear the cobwebs and get back to the basics. When you look at a bunch of homes, cool new features can muddy up the works at bit.

Wikipedia: Karen people, an ethnic group in Burma and Thailand »

Jul 27, 2011 04:19 AM