Monday, March 7, 2011

Monday List #11

I am enjoying a quiet if productive Monday, I have the day off after working the weekend and am spending the day house hunting. When I purchase my next nest it will be the 4th home I've purchased in the last decade and the 2nd home I've purchased as a single woman. When I bought my first home a buyers options were regulated to running down a list of properties selected by your Realtor or browsing the newspapers for a list of open houses and popping in for a look. Oh how things have changed. The market peaked and crashed and Illinois had the 9th highest rate of foreclosures in 2010. Not good for sellers but a good time to buy.
Here is my list of the tips and tricks I rely on when house hunting.
  1. This one is a no brainer....have a good Realtor you trust. For 2 of my home purchases and 2 of my sales I used a realtor who had bought and sold my families homes for years. In fact it was through her that I met my 2nd husband, she was selling my home, she knew him from a past real estate deal, she put 1 and 1 together, he bought my home and we eventually married (and divorced). However due to this rather incestuous realty relationship I am currently using a new realtor, I trust her, she knows what I am looking for and she doesn't get crazy with my "if it's meant to be it will be" attitude towards homes. How do you find a good realtor? Ask your friends and colleagues, DON'T pick a realtor just because they are listing a home you are interested in. Get referrals!
  2. The Internet is your friend. I am addicted to real estate sites. My favorite is however I have learned the hard way that the listings are not updated as often as they should be. There are homes currently listed on that are under contract and have been for some time. This leads to tip #3...
  3. Have your realtor call or email the listing agent BEFORE you go for a viewing to make sure the home is not under contract. Why? In this day of frequent foreclosures, the bank may have accepted an offer on a home but the listing is still active. They just can't keep up with the sheer volume of foreclosed properties and you don't want to visit a home, fall in love, write up an offer and find out from the bank the home is under contract.
  4. Use phone apps to pin point homes for sale in your target neighborhood. The app on the iPhone is amazing. It uses my GPS location so I drive to a target neighborhood and search by price, features etc. You can also search by mapping features, by open house and even by rental. Searches and home listings can be saved and shared via email. I am addicted to this app and use it every day to search for new listings in my target area or to virtually search locations I may not have considered.
  5. Get your financial ducks in a row. I have letters from my lender ready to go when I decide to make an initial offer. This saves valuable time and could get you the home you want over another bidder/buyer who doesn't have their lending in place.
I will update the blog when I do finally buy my next nest. Wish me luck!

1 comment:

HOOTe CAT blot said...

this was a really cool story..!
maybe your Realtor can hook you up to the MLS and give you your own live link that will notify you of homes with your specs and keep you somewhat updated on status.. but i hear ya.. they change fast.
the short sales.. now those are the funky ones..
it is an exciting time..enjoy it!