Andrew Wetzel's Musings

May 27, 2017

How to be a SERIOUS Buyer! Part 6 (of 7)

Filed under: Uncategorized — awetzel @ 3:39 PM

Let me start with a recap.  Please read my earlier posts if you want to “fill in the blanks”.

You have gotten “pre-qualified” with a reputable lender and determined how much of your hard earned money you want to spend, you have determined where you want to live, you have established a manageable list of “must have” features (along with some “nice to have” items) and you have a list of “possible matches” for your search criteria as well as a game plan to ensure that you get regular updates.  So, what do you do now?

First, assuming you have picked an agent to provide you with regular updates, make sure that you are comfortable with the plan.  Obviously whatever “arrangement” you make with an agent is your business BUT understand what you are doing.  For example, TREND (the MLS we use in this area) has an outstanding feature called “automatic email prospecting“.  I can set up a “prospecting file” for a Buyer and, after they “subscribe” to my incoming emails (the MLS has “anti-spam” rules), they will receive updates as often as they like when something happens that impacts their search.  This includes brand new listings, price-reduced listings (either “within” your “range” or “into” your range) and “back on the market listings” (when deals fail or when showings resume).  These emails go out automatically, “matching” listings with the search criteria entered for Buyers.

As with any search, the results are only as good as the data input and the MLS cannot analyze “subjective” criteria.  Over time most buyers will adjust their search criteria as some features gain importance while others seem less important.  The goal is to have multiple choices to consider.  Given a choice, I would rather risk sending you some property listings you do not like than not sending you something you will like.  The simple fact is that serious buyers need to look closely at every property listing emailed to them as soon as they can because you never know when something spectacular will come your way.

Second, whatever system you use, you have to look at the new information to make it work for you.  For my clients, this means making it a priority to check your email frequently, depending on how often you want updates.  However you do that, please remember that the MLS has over many, many buyers receiving updates and there is no way to know how many other buyers are seeing the same properties as you.  Who do you want to get the information first, them or you?  Many houses are lost by the slightest delay.  I can tell you that another one will be there for you but ….

Open the information and review it.  I highly recommend that you drive to the house and look at the exterior and, equally important, the neighborhood.  In the “good old days”, I recommended that Buyers visit a neighborhood three times BEFORE making an offer (one or more of these will include a look inside AFTER the initial neighborhood visit to eliminate areas and houses that do not meet your needs).  Ideally, the times will include a weekday (daylight does wonders when evaluating a neighborhood), an evening (how much parking is available?) and the weekend (curious about your potential neighbors?  Prefer to live where there are children?).  How much you want to do to choose a house is up to you.  It is hard work but shortcuts are costly!  I can only offer advice.  Most of my Buyers clients buy after seeing inside 10-12 houses (they eliminate many more online and by looking at the neighborhood) AND they remain in their house much longer than “average” because they usually buy houses that really meet their needs.  Of course I get less “repeat business” than many agents but the process is “about YOU!”.

Two additional thoughts.  First, I suggest that buyers do not readily dismiss properties they “think” will not meet their needs.  While driving to see a house that does not appear to be viable for you, doing so may take you into areas with which you are not familiar so that may open your eyes and mind to something you may have otherwise overlooked.  Second, if you are getting many updates you may want to add to your “wish list” to narrow your choices.  Alternatively, if you are getting very little, if possible, you may want to cut back a little.  Your choice of course!

When you decide to buy a house, you are BUYING the NEIGHBORHOOD!  Just ask anyone who found out too late that they did not like their neighborhood.  It always seems that everyone else knows what they did not.

Please read my other posts which will cover a variety of topics on making and negotiating offers, handling inspections and many other aspects of buying and selling Real Estate.

Thanks for reading.

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