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How to Approach House Hunting

Searching for a new place to call home is a pivotal time in your life, and can easily become an overwhelming process — especially in an ultra-competitive market.

Apartment Therapy recently published an article about helpful house-hunting tips from real estate agents across the country, including expertise from Leverage Partners Andrea Morgan of Atlanta Intown Real Estate and Danny Chhan of Aviara Real Estate. The article shed light on some of our partners’ advice for streamlining the process, such as nicknaming prospective homes to limit confusion and an “80/10/10 rule”: serious prospects should love 80% of it as-is, change 10% and live with the remaining 10%.

Inspired by this collection of insider know-how, we’ve tapped more Leverage Global Partners agents to continue the conversation of organized house-hunting.

Utilize a Client Collaboration Platform

Christopher Fajkos of Tahoe Mountain Realty suggests signing up for daily market update platforms such as RealScout to stay updated the moment a property goes live, changes prices, or falls out of contract. Fajkos says, “We’re only human and can’t expect to be monitoring the market in real time, all the time,” and that utilizing a client collaboration platform can go a very long way. Real estate agent Courtney Poulos of ACME Real Estate also uses the program to help keep clients' favorites all in one place.

Know How to Search

Poulos also recommends not to get too specific with search filters, as not all details are entered the same by listing agents. “Keep the search to the zip code, number of bedrooms and bathrooms or square feet and price point,” advises Poulos. Out of the given criteria of price, condition, location, and size, prioritize them in order to streamline your search experience.

Identify Your “Must Haves”

 When bidding between different homes, have a list of non-negotiables to reference, clearly marked apart from flexible preferences. Liz Jones of Jones Realty Group SoCal suggests considering yard size, kitchen size, bedroom number, and school districts. Jones emphasizes, “It will be important to stay focused on the things you can control, not those you cannot.”

 Agent Megan Gallagher of DEN Property Group recommends sharing a spreadsheet: “To keep my buyers organized while looking at multiple properties, I typically have them fill in a shared spreadsheet with all of their top priorities –– square footage, layout, location, commute time, walkability; anything that is important to them… using the points, we can narrow down the houses to see and schedule showings.”

Write It Down and Hit The Road

Lori Sacco of Vanguard Properties recommends processing all this new information by keeping a notebook “to actually write down the houses you see online -––with address and MLS numbers.” Sacco advises keeping the notebook for when you see a for sale sign while driving through a neighborhood by “tak[ing] a photo of the sign and then text[ing] it to your agent with the address. That property might be coming soon to the market and your agent will be able to track down all the details.”

Make It Fun!

 As sentimental as this advice sounds, this should be a fun experience for you and your family. Jones encourages, “Each time you go house hunting, bring the family, plan to stop at lunch or a nearby park so they can begin to see themselves in the area. Drop by the local schools and stop in to tour the campus. Look for local churches. This doesn’t have to be stressful, it should be fun too.” A house hunt can easily turn into community discovery or a social outing.

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