How many homes should you see before you make an offer on one?
This is an interesting question because there are a lot of opinions. And much of the answer depends on a few factors;
What are your main objectives in buying? Is this a home you’ll most likely be in for a long time or most likely somewhere you’ll be in for a few years? How important is the investment part? Is this your dream home? Are the schools the most important thing to you or the neighborhood or the size or does any of that matter? Is this a home for your family or just an investment?
Who is helping you? Are you going to find the home on your own before having an agent help you? Are you going to have a new agent help you that doesn’t know as much about the market? Are you going to have an experienced Realtor who knows the market well help you right from the start?
If you are buying as a couple, do you agree on what you want? Do you have completely differing opinions or do both of you have the same vision of what to buy? Couples often do not agree on what they want, which can make the process much more difficult and frustrating. Deciding up front and making a list of what you’re looking for can help.
Have you finalized your financing? Have you decided on the lender you will be using and have your pre-approval and know exactly what payment and sales price you are comfortable with? After financing is in place and buyers feel good about their payments- they can move ahead more quickly and confidently.
Are you realistic? Do you believe in the perfect home? Are you wanting fate to grab you and shake you when you step into the right home, as though God himself were telling you that “this is the one”? Some people just want to feel like they’re getting the best “deal”, while others want to find a good home at a fair price. If you’re looking to buy a house for 15% under its market value, you’ll be looking for a long time and may never find a home to buy.
Depending on these (and other) factors, you may want to see many homes or just a few. If you do it the way I think is best, you’ll most likely find the right home pretty quickly. And, contrary to some people’s beliefs, it is okay to buy one of the first homes you see.
A Good Way To Find a Home
Usually when someone is ready to buy it does not take long to find the right home. Once they have met with the lender and set the payment and price they are comfortable with we are ready to go. Often they will tell us what they are looking for and we will find and preview the first set of homes to show them. If they don’t find one they like in the first set of homes we can at least get a good sense of what they liked and didn’t like about those homes. Then we show them more homes, adjusting for what we now know they like and usually find them a home they love within the first two or three trips of seeing 4-8 homes. Of course, some buyers take much longer, and some buy one of the first few homes they see.
There is a young couple I met over 18 months ago and showed them a few homes and I just saw them at a house two weeks ago and they are still looking. They will probably be paying $40,000-$70,000 more than they would have paid 18 months ago, but they are determined to find the perfect house.
My wife and I bought the third home we looked at and it’s been the best home I’ve ever owned. We decided on what we were looking for and when we found it we bought it. We called the listing agent and said we’d wait for the agent to get there and the owners to come home. We sat right there at the kitchen table and wrote the offer with the sellers and their agent. Full price, and we worked out dates that worked for everyone. Win/win- that’s the right way to buy a home.