A Focused House Hunt is What Gets Results

By
Real Estate Agent with Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA VA License # 0225089470

A Focused House Hunt is What Gets Results

Working with buyers I have learned one thing:  a focused house hunt is what gets results.  If everything is an option, you will never find what you are looking for.  Why?  YOU don't even know what you want if your parameters are so broad that hundreds of homes fit the profile.

House hunting is all about elimination.  You need to be able to eliminate types of homes and locations.  Maybe you really need a garage, so a home without one is not what you want.  Maybe you want a specific location, so everything in a particular county is not going to work.  Need two bathrooms?  Why include homes with only one?

Saying, "Anything in Fairfax County near a highway under X dollars," is an option is a recipe for having hundreds of homes to parse through.  It's just not a focused enough search.

Don't be afraid of narrowing done your list of must haves or wants.  You will have fewer options, but you'll be far more likely to be in a position to act on what you want when it hits the market.  You don't want the home of your dreams to be lost in a lengthy list of homes for sale that you have to peruse every evening.   Northern Virginia is experiencing a seller's market so having a super focused home search is going to yield the best result. 

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Rainmaker
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Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%
RE/MAX Gold - Sacramento, CA
Put 40 years of experience to work for you

After all, Chris Ann, how many houses does a buyer need to buy? Generally, just one. Sometimes you hit pay dirt. For example, I had a guy who wanted a certain square footage within a particular price range and a 4-car garage. Know how many homes fit that description in Sacramento? One. Just one. And guess what? He bought it.

Mar 27, 2012 06:24 AM #1
Rainmaker
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Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

Chris Ann~ Being focused is the only way to approach house hunting.  Good advice.

Mar 27, 2012 06:31 AM #2
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Gary Woltal
Keller Williams Realty - Flower Mound, TX
Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth

Chris Ann, good points. Search on the Internet saves lots of dollars with the gas. Although many agents put poor photos out there or misinformation on the listing that you don't figure out till you get out there. Focus and narrowing down which houses are the ones to zero in on.

Mar 27, 2012 06:44 AM #3
Rainmaker
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Morgan Evans
Douglas Elliman Real Estate - Manhattan, NY
LICENSED REAL ESTATE SALESPERSON

Great points for the home buyers. I think writing down a MUST HAVE list and NEGOTIABLE items list will help buyers to narrow down their home search.

Mar 27, 2012 06:46 AM #4
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Belinda Spillman
Aspen Lane Real Estate Colorful Colorado - Aurora, CO
Colorado Living!

Chris Ann.  It is so important to narrow down exactly what you want in a house.  That way you can focus and not be distracted by all the maybe's.

Mar 27, 2012 07:52 AM #5
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Elizabeth:  It's when they find exactly what they want and then pass that you know you aren't workging with a serious buyer.

Donna:  The idea is to narrow, not include as much as possible.

Gary:  It can seem too narrow to some buyers, but in reality, it's the only way to go.  Stay focused and wait for what you want to come on the market.

Morgan:  It's rare when I ask buyers to open up their criteria to include more stuff.

Belinda:  Too many maybes and you don't have a serious buyer. 

Mar 27, 2012 08:11 AM #6
Rainmaker
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Pacita Dimacali
Alain Pinel - Oakland, CA
Alameda/Contra Costa Counties CA

Chris Ann --

I'm trying to teach people how to focus and to be realistic. For the first meeting, we'll put up some listings and then talk about ones they like. We'll even choose a few to look at, and we give feedback. Then I encourage them to ride around on their own to check out some neighborhoods. Having them actively participate in the search via driving around will help eliminate some of their thoughts about searching in seeral cities and above their price range.

Mar 27, 2012 09:34 AM #7
Rainmaker
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Kasey & John Boles
Jon Gosche Real Estate, LLC - BoiseMeridianRealEstate.com - Boise, ID
Boise & Meridian, ID Ada/Canyon/Gem/Boise Counties

This is very true.  Sometimes, however, I have to also talk to them about the opposite - maybe they are too focused and that house doesn't exist, but would if they were willing to lower the square footage by 100sq.ft.  Or maybe they just really need 3 garages instead of 4 and could afford to put up their own fence if they find the perfect home but it just happens to not be fully fenced....great blog.  It really is about educating people about how to think about their wants and their needs. -Kasey

Mar 27, 2012 02:44 PM #8
Rainmaker
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Scott Godzyk
Godzyk Real Estate Services - Manchester, NH
One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents

Chris Ann that is so true. I have buyers who send 30-40 addresses they want to see. It is a heart to heart talk along with spending time on what they likle and dont like that yiels quaility homes tio see within their guidelines. Have a great day

Mar 28, 2012 12:43 AM #9
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Pacita:  I've advised buyers to drive around neighborhoods to get a feel for them.  It's much easier to have them eliminate definite no's before you decide to throw them on a house tour.

Kasey:  You're right.  Being too narrowly focused can hurt too if someone is being unrealistic about a home that is unlikely to come on the market. 

Scott:  Especially in a market that moves fast, even a list of ten homes can mean losing a few great ones in the time it takes to digest all of those.  Over the course of months, I have certainly shown buyers up to 60 homes before they found one that fit, but starting with a long list is counter productive.

Mar 28, 2012 01:36 AM #10
Rainmaker
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Jan Green
Value Added Service, 602-620-2699 - Scottsdale, AZ
HomeSmart Elite Group, REALTOR®, EcoBroker, GREEN

Chris Ann - you're right!  Narrowing down the search is much more effective.  You'll save time, frustration, and gas!  I've learned over the past many years in sales that buyers become frustrated if we show them too many homes.  They may say, "Show me everything in my price range."  But the fact of the matter is that they'll start to forget the homes that placed 2nd in their search, and sometimes those become 1st place homes if nothing else fits.    Best of luck!

Mar 28, 2012 02:56 AM #11
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Jan:  Everything can't be an option.  It's simply impossible to come to a decision that way.  We understand that and need to help our buyers get it too.

Mar 28, 2012 03:41 AM #12
Rainmaker
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Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Chris Ann -- I might add just one word to your well-written post:   realistically focused.  

Mar 28, 2012 04:41 AM #13
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Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster REALTORS®, Gainesville, VA - Bristow, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Michael:  And that's an excellent addition.  Thanks!

Mar 29, 2012 01:42 AM #14
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