According to last month’s National Association of Realtors® announcement, existing home sales are up across the U.S., at the same time that home inventories are on the rise. In Northeast Florida, it may point to a brisk fall market, with more prospective buyers deciding the time is right for buying a house.
It’s true that a few lucky prospects will find the perfect home after just an afternoon or two. But that’s not often the case: for most people, buying a house requires a good deal more shoe leather. Buyers who aren’t really certain of what they want in their future house may have to visit a few…or 40! But if you and/or your Significant Other can’t spend months touring houses, you’ll need to pin down the factors that are most important to you. It’s the most direct way to avoid wasting time on houses that don’t measure up.
So that makes the most important time-saver this—make a list!
- First, narrow down the features you absolutely must have in a new home. You might decide you need a minimum of four bedrooms, a family room, and a two-car garage. You might also want a house that’s no more than 30 minutes from the office. It’s best if you keep the “must-haves” to no more than 3 to 5 non-negotiable elements.
- Next, add features that would be nice to have, but aren’t absolutely essential. You might prefer a house with a fenced yard for your dog, but would be willing to build your own fence if the price were right.
- Finally, add your deal-breakers. These might include a location on a busy street, a small kitchen, or the absence of a garage.
When it’s finished, the full list will help you and your Realtor eliminate many of the homes that aren’t appropriate for you.
Everyone who is buying a house in Northeast Florida today has another tool—a new one—that can further narrow the field: Google Earth. The traditional photos in the Northeast Florida real estate listings focus on the house itself, rarely showing much of the neighborhood. Although the house might be attractive, it may lose some of its luster if you discover it’s next to a gas station or a on a street full of ill-kept homes. Use Google Earth’s Satellite and Street Views to virtually visit the neighborhood. It’s a truly efficient way to make a first pass at determining if the area looks promising.
Weekends are prime time for home touring, but since many homeowners require an advance appointment so they can vacate their houses for showings, scheduling consecutive time-slots can be problematic. You’ll see more houses efficiently if you take a weekday morning or afternoon off, taking advantage of a low-traffic day to schedule back-to-back showings.
For most of us, buying a house is most critical shopping we ever do—but that doesn’t mean it has to be endlessly time-consuming. If you are considering buying a house in Northeast Florida this fall, contact me today to discuss which of Northeast Florida’s upcoming properties best fit your wish list. Then let’s go take a look!