Moving in a hurry?
Take these steps to jump-start your house-hunting
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.
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."
Deutsch suggests Century21.com
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,"
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,
Claudine 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."
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."
Once you get to the house-hunting location, Tahan
says it's best to focus on areas.
"If 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."
Terry Eilers advises getting a 24-hour view of the
"What looks like a nice street during the day could
be a racetrack at night."
Another 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.
Selling in a hurry
Eilers also has some suggestions for the other side of the
equation -- selling your home in a hurry.
"There are 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
"The two best things you can spend your money on are
paint and cleaning."
And third, make sure the house is marketed properly.
If it's not selling, Eilers suggests working some more on price
-- Posted: Oct. 22, 1999