Finding a home that meets all of your specifications can be tough, especially when you have a young family. When your realtor history hasn’t been all that great (are they much better than car salesmen?) you wonder if striking out on your own is a better option.
Here’s the thing: real estate agents are trained in real estate. Though not all agents are created equal, there are those who go above and beyond to help their clients find the dream home they’ve been looking for.
Consider the real estate agent that uses Customer Relationship Management software (CRM) for real estate. A truly great real estate agent will use the software to help them track your working relationship’s progress. In other words, the keep an updated profile on the types of homes and neighborhoods you do and do not like, your budget and how and when you would like to sign the home-buying contract.
Your home-buying experience should be an exciting and positive one. A well-seasoned real estate agent knows that it’s not just about the house for you either, it’s also about the neighborhood.
When initiating a relationship with your real estate agent, let them know what you want out of a neighborhood, and ask them the ways they intend to help you find it.
To help you along your journey, here are four ways to find the right neighborhood for you:
Everybody’s on a budget. There’s no point in your real estate agent taking you to a suburb full of houses that are well out of your price range. Let your real estate agent know your budget from the start, otherwise, the home-buying process is going to be a depressing one, especially if they’re taking you to beautiful places you can’t afford quite yet.
Ask the agent to see a list of neighborhoods in your price range, and start from there.
If the real estate agent chooses to ignore your budget, then you’ll know it’s time to part ways and to find a new one.
Access to Goods and Services
A house can be brand new and have every amenity you’ve ever wanted, but if it’s in the middle of nowhere with the nearest shop 30 minutes or more away, it’s likely not worth it.
What if you need to run out and get a carton of milk? Americans already spend 42 hours a year stuck behind the wheel. Do you want to drive an hour to get a carton of milk? Not only is being close to stores important, but so is being close to a police station and fire department. What if there’s a burglary? What if the house catches on fire? By the time help is able to arrive, your house will have been ransacked or burned down.
What’s the Tax Situation?
Buying real estate is already an expensive venture, but depending on the neighborhood you buy your new home in, you could be paying A LOT more than you had original budgeted for.
HowStuffWorks tells prospective homeowners to be aware of Homeowners Association fees and other service fees, such as trash collection. If the cost of the extra services isn’t in your budget, it’s not the right neighborhood.
Is Every House on the Block on the Market?
How many “For Sale” signs can you spy from the driveway? Does it look like people are leaving the neighborhood en masse? If so, that’s not a good sign.
Let your realtor know that you’re looking to live in a neighborhood that has a strong mark of ownership and is an area where people want to live.
Now that you have a better idea of what to look for, go out and start touring those open houses!