I’m going to start looking at purchasing a home this fall and I have a few questions about the process. About how long does the home buying process last for most of your clients? I know you’ve worked with a lot of people and will have a pretty good idea of what the average time frame looks like. I’m planning several trips this fall and winter and want to make sure I’m settled into my new home before leaving. Also, about how many houses should I look at before making an offer on one I like? Is there a good number to use as a gage? If I find a home that checks off most items on my list, should I continue looking to make sure it is the best option or just put in an offer? I’ve heard you should go with your gut, but I’m not sure if that’s the best advice.
Thanks for your guidance!
All great questions. The home buying process can be overwhelming if you let it, but you are starting the process by asking some great questions and clearly will be entering the fray with a laid out plan! Keep in mind that you are entering the housing market at a time that is moving quite briskly. When you are shopping for a new home in a hot market you have to throw some caution to the wind or you will constantly find yourself on the outside looking in and missing out on home after home.
The length of time the home buying process takes depends on each individual. Everybody learns at a different pace and everyone evaluates homes and the market just as differently. It’s funny, sometimes we see a husband who is very cautious and a wife that is eager to pull the trigger! Their yen and yang is probably why they work great as a couple, but the same yen and yang can prove very difficult during the home buying process if they are not working synergistically. I would recommend you don’t put a time limit on yourself, but do make sure to spend enough time to get educated about the market and the houses in, above and below your targeted price point. This may take one day for some or 30 days for others. It purely depends on the person.
The number of houses you look at is also individually subjective, but you need to see enough houses in and surrounding your targeted price point to make sure you can identify a good (or bad) deal when you see one! Your agent should be able to help you identify what is a good deal and what’s not, but you want to make sure you have a good feel for that on your own.
Once you feel like you have a good feel for the market and start looking in earnest don’t be afraid to jump if you find the right one quickly! Listen, if my wife had not jumped when she did, I am confident I would have been swooped up by another looker shortly thereafter! All kidding aside, the good ones go fast (and that’s what I keep telling her) and if you wait, someone will swoop in and snag it! If you have educated yourself properly about the market then this is where you should trust your gut. Trusting your gut is easier to do, with confidence, when you have spent the time educating yourself about what you are doing.
Remember house hunting is full of trade-off’s. You will NEVER find the perfect house. Show me someone who is looking for the “perfect” house and I will show you someone who is wasting their (and their Realtor's) time and will likely end up very frustrated. If you find a house that checks off most, but not all of the items on your list, don’t just overlook it and pass it by because it may very well be the one. I believe when you see the one, you will know (or at least have a good idea) it’s the one! When I found my personal house it was a disaster, but I knew it was the one! It had many, many flaws, but they paled in comparison to its strengths and I could see the end result even back then.
Bottom line, when you shop for your new home, be aggressive. Being passive won’t get it done if the house is new to the market. Sometimes it does take time, but don’t be afraid of fast because sometimes fast is the most fun and packs the biggest reward. You are going to do great and I have no doubt you will find the perfect house.
The Kimbrough Team