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HOUSE HUNTING

Timely quest for a dream home

August 05, 2007|Dian Hymer | Inman News

It's not uncommon for buyers to look for six months or more before finding the right house or condo to buy. Lucky are the buyers who find a great property that suits their needs soon after they start their search. But finding the right house earlier than expected can pose a problem for some buyers.

Common concerns are: Have I looked long enough to understand the market and the range of options available? Could there be an even better listing on the market at a better price? Will an upcoming listing be more appealing? Should I wait and see what else might come along?

Don't pass over an ideal property just because you found it quickly. Instead, complete due-diligence investigations to satisfy any concerns you may have before you make an offer. You could regret it if you don't buy the house and it takes years to find another.

Search the Internet to see whether there are similar listings on the market in the area where you want to live. You can usually get a sense of the floor plan of a house from the information provided on the Internet. If critical information isn't provided online, your agent can check for you. Ask your agent to show you the properties you're interested in. Look at as many homes as possible that might suit your needs. This will help you to decide whether to go ahead or wait for something better.

A critical variable to consider before making your decision is how often listings like the one you're considering become available. Ask your agent to provide you with a list of similar homes that sold within the last six months or one year.

Ask your agent to give you as many details about the properties as possible, including how long they took to sell and whether they sold for more or less than the list price. You might want to drive by the houses so you can get a curbside impression of how they compare with the one you're considering.

You may find that properties similar to the one you like come along frequently, don't sell quickly and rarely go for over the list price. In this case, there's no urgency to buy quickly. However, if you discover that houses like the one you covet come on the market infrequently, you should seriously consider going ahead with an offer.

Don't pass up a good house because you don't think you know enough to make an informed decision. Instead, accelerate your investigation so you are prepared to make the best choice.

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Dian Hymer is author of "House Hunting: The Take-Along Workbook for Home Buyers" and "Starting Out: The Complete Home Buyer's Guide."

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