Updated: Dec 13, 2019
Here are 4 great tips to follow in order to save yourself the headache of touring dozens of homes without finding any that work for you. The most common misconception is that it is a long process of touring until the right home presents itself when in reality, the best way to think about it is as a process of elimination. Take the small amount of time upfront to knock out these steps and make the rest of the process smooth, fast, and enjoyable!
Have a conversation with your Realtor
Take the time to sit down or chat on the phone with your Realtor to discuss in detail what is important to you. I call this the "Deal Breaker and Deal Maker" conversation. If you need your home to have at least 4 bedrooms, a pool, and a basement, for example, those would be your deal makers. If you absolutely refuse to purchase a home in a mandatory home owner's association, without a yard, or in the city, those would be your deal-breakers.
Eliminate whole neighborhoods
Using the deal-breakers that you discussed and agreed upon before with your agent and whoever you are purchasing the home with if you are not purchasing alone, go through neighborhoods in your area and go ahead and strike out the neighborhoods that don't have properties that meet your criteria. This will help reduce the amount of time you are spending looking through all of the properties hoping that one will have what you need or not have what is a deal-breaker for you. The first criteria I suggest using is pricing -- figure out how much you are wanting to spend on your next home and eliminate neighborhoods that are priced outside of that range. If you refuse to live in the city, you can go ahead and strike out all of the neighborhoods that are in the city limits and don't have larger parcels. If you refuse to live in a neighborhood that doesn't allow pools, take out those neighborhoods so that you are not wasting time looking there.
Drive the remaining neighborhoods
Now that you have knocked out most neighborhoods from your list, choose the top three to five and get in your car. Take the time to go drive the neighborhoods and see them in person. Not only will this give you a better idea of what traffic is like and what the houses look like in person, but it will give you the opportunity to envision yourself driving through the streets of the neighborhood. Buying a home can be a very emotional experience, and this allows you to figure out if it feels like home. If it does not feel right, move on to the next neighborhoods and do the same.
Now that you have figured out which neighborhoods have the homes that meet your criteria and that you can envision yourself living in, it is time to speak with your Realtor again and schedule times to tour the top three to five properties on your list. At this point, you will know as soon as you tour the home if it is a good deal and about how much you would need to offer in order to get it under contract.
In review, the correct order to follow is: having the conversation with your Realtor (deal makers and deal breakers), eliminating neighborhoods that don't fit your criteria, driving the remaining neighborhoods, and scheduling showings for the few homes in the few remaining neighborhoods that meet your criteria.
Matt Moreland, Realtor® is a real estate agent serving the Lubbock, Texas and the South Plains. After graduating with a Bachelor of Business Administration in Finance with a concentration in real estate from Texas Tech University, he began practicing real estate full time at McDougal Realtors in Lubbock, Texas. Matt enjoys spending time with his wife and their dog. Some of his hobbies include investing in real estate, elk hunting, backpacking, barbecuing, and playing guitar. To schedule a commitment-free consultation please call 469-744-3610 or fill out this form to get started.