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"Making House Hunting Easier"

By Thomas Ervin
Thomas Ervin is a nationally syndicated real estate columnist.
(Reprinted with permission from Author)


People approach the task of finding the next house in different ways. Some grab the classified ads and begin calling real estate offices. Others jump in the car and drive neighborhoods looking at "for sale" signs. If you are in the market for a home, here are some ideas that might be helpful:

FIND THE RIGHT AGENT FOR YOU
Because we are all different people, you should select a real estate agent who has the right credentials and suits your personality. Don't work with more than one agent when house hunting. You may feel that two or more agents could help you find more homes more quickly. It usually doesn't work that way. Because Realtors® are paid on a commission basis, an agent who knows that he or she has your exclusive loyalty will be more motivated to stick with the job until you are satisfied.


QUALIFYING FOR AFFORDABILITY
One of the most painful experiences for a potential home buyer is to look at homes that are out of the buyer's price range. You may fall in love with a certain home only to discover that you are not financially able to complete the purchase. When you do begin inspecting homes you can afford, they never seem as nice as the more expensive models. Ask your agent to look at your finances and help you decide upon a price range that suits your budget before beginning your house hunting. This all-important first step will allow you to get your home search off on the right foot.


QUALIFYING FOR NEEDS AND TASTES
Many buyers visit too many homes before their final selection is made. This is caused by a communication gap between the buyer and the agent. It is difficult for an agent to get an appreciation of your tastes and the type of home you want when you only rely on verbal communication. The best way to help your agent understand your needs is to invite him or her to see your existing home. Point out the features you like in your present home that you want duplicated in the next house. Show your agent the features you dislike about this home so they can be avoided in the next one. Let him or her see the size and style of your furniture so that room sizes can be considered when selecting homes for future showings.


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Steve Hatfield, Realtor®
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