As a real estate agent I think it's good to occasionally go through the same things our clients do. Liz and I have lived in the same home for almost 30 years. The only other personal real estate transaction in that time was a few years ago buying an acre from the neigbhor to expand our turf a bit, and obviously that didn't involve any internet searches or driving around looking at property. A calculation of how much more frontage I wanted, how many feet back we'd have to go to make that an acre, a contract and a real estate attorney and a few weeks later the extra woods belonged to us.
Now we're going through the full paces, looking for a place to call home that will be closer to family. Could be resale, could be new construction, but it's most likely going to be new. We've got an agent from the Rain taking care of our needs since our target area is 6 hours and another state away from where we live now, and obviously we don't know the local practices.
Like most buyers, we're kicking the tires on various real estate portals, and local agent sites that don't require registration. The shortfalls from a consumer standpoint become apparent quickly. Lack of good pictures, lack of key data (high speed internet is a MUST, but that doesn't seem to be provided information), map pins for raw land that are nowhere close to the actual physical location, etc.
It's a bit different searching there versus here because for the most part here the terrain is fairly flat, and there we're looking for mountainside property, and the closer to the crest, the better.
I've gotten VERY familiar with that county's assessor site and have figured out that most of the on market property isn't necessarily forthcoming about just how sloped the property might be. Drone photos taken from above of fully leafed out woods doesn't really give you a good perspective either.
Topography maps help (that Navy training is still paying off 3 decades later!), but using Google Earth was a real breakthrough to give us a better idea of the actual contours of the land. Pair the map with the 3D pictures and use of virtual graph paper and we know "too steep here", and "we can work with that land".
We've been looking at new construction house plans and realizing that being upslope or downslope relative to the view of the valley will go a long ways toward dictating acceptable floor plans. Go above the street and we'll have an exposed basement on the front of the home, go below the street and we can have a regular ranch front, but an exposed daylight basement and large deck on the back side.
There's currently nothing on market that really suits our needs, so we've been scouring vacant lots and reaching out to owners who might be willing to sell.
Tax records give us names and billing addresses, but finding direct contact information can be a bit of a challenge. Spokeo, Google & Facebook searches have allowed us to make contact with several owners. We've gotten some outright Nos, and some Maybes.
Bottom line, it's a test of the skills and advice we've learned serving our clients for almost 20 years, and it provides some insight on how we can better serve our clients prior to our own retirement.
After all, even when we're not our own clients, it's personal for someone. Keeping that in mind makes all of us better agents.
Until next Tuesday, just Ask An Ambassador if you need help,
Bill & Liz aka BLiz