Moving in a hurry? Take
these steps to jump-start your house-hunting
If you're relocating because of a new job and your
house-hunting time is limited, you'll want to jump-start the process.
Your first step should be on the Internet. It can
be one of the best sources for information on for-sale homes anywhere
in the country. Sites such as Realtor.com
can match your wish list with what's available. Enter information
about your desired location and price range, and these sites may
help narrow or expand your selections.
Some sites have more information than others do so
check out as many as you can. Many sites show a picture of the property
and some have virtual tours that give a 360-degree view of the house
and individual rooms.
But the Internet can provide more than that, says
Ted Deutsch of Cendant
Corp., based in Parsippany, N.J.
Internet is best tool
"The Internet is the best tool for getting information on your own terms at any
time. There are a lot of good Web sites that offer listing information, plus information
on neighborhoods, schools and even the real estate transaction process."
two Cendant subsidiaries.
Your company probably will provide
at least one house-hunting trip of two, possibly three days. Have an idea of what
towns you'd like to see and have an appointment all ready set with a real estate
agent. Your company may assist you in selecting an agent. In any event, check
the agent's references.
"Find out if the person's knowledgeable,
honest," says Terry Eilers, author of How to Buy the
Home You Want, for the Best Price in Any Market. "I'd want five, six or
seven references -- if they refuse or only give one or two, walk away."
Tahan of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Parsippany, says that contacting
the real estate agent in advance is critical to making the most of your house-hunting
"Ask for school reports or whatever else is important
to you. We can have agents ready to take clients to various neighborhoods and
an itinerary waiting at the hotel when they arrive."
a wish list
Tahan also suggests that each person on the house-hunting
trip create a "wish list" before the trip.
"A married couple
might have two different wish lists. Putting it on paper gets them started on
the same page early, instead of when time is precious."
you get to the house-hunting location, Tahan says it's best to focus on areas.
they have to make a decision in one weekend, spend the first day and a half touring
areas -- then focus on housing. If they find the perfect home and it's not in
an area that's conducive to their needs, it won't work."
Eilers advises getting a 24-hour view of the neighborhood.
looks like a nice street during the day could be a racetrack at night."
important consideration is getting prequalified for a mortgage before the house-hunting
trip. If you find a house you like, it will speed the purchasing process.
in a hurry
Eilers also has some suggestions for the other side
of the equation -- selling your home in a hurry.
three critical things. Price is first: Find the comparable sale price -- not the
price other homes are listed at, but what they're selling at. Find out what they
sold for in the last six months. Just because you have nicer carpet, driveway
or a bigger yard -- it doesn't matter."
After that, Eilers
says it's time to spiff up the old homestead.
"The two best
things you can spend your money on are paint and cleaning."
third, make sure the house is marketed properly. If it's not selling, Eilers suggests
working some more on price and condition.
Posted: July 7, 2004