Previewing homes for buyers – here’s how I do it

May 14, 2012 — I am often asked what I do when I preview homes for buyers. How do I know whether a home comes close to what they would consider buying?

I start by conducting a thorough inventory of what they want and what their needs will likely be for the next 5-10 years.

I enjoy previewing homes, especially when I find a matches that make complete sense for my clients. CREDIT: The Andy Advantage

– Where would they like to live and why?

– What can they prudently afford?

– Are there any family additions in the offing?

– Do existing children need a big back yard?

– How important is close access to the Washington, DC-area’s Metrorail system?

You get the picture.

With that information in hand, on my own I preview qualifying homes and schedule visits with my clients I think are worth showing. As we walk through each one, I watch and listen closely to what they like and what they don’t, especially if there are any show-stoppers such as only a one-car garage. After that, the responsibility falls to me to ‘home in’ on properties that meet at least 80 percent of their needs.

With that I place them on a “drip” of homes that might meet most of their criteria that they receive via email as frequently as the homes materialize in the regional Metropolitan Regional Information Systems, or MRIS

In the early going, most of the homes that pop up may miss the mark. But as I sharpen the search criteria, this is a very efficient way to get a quick bead on properties as they are put up for sale.

On a parallel path, I research and visit neighborhoods to get a first-hand sense of the location. I might get in touch with agents who are active with listings in those neighborhoods to let them know of my clients’ interests.

Whenever a good prospect materializes, I preview it and quickly relay any relevant information that my client should know. I don’t recommend taking a client to see a home unless it meets that 80% threshold.

In the type of market we’re experiencing now in Northern Virginia and Montgomery County, Maryland, timing could be integral, perhaps critical, to submitting a contract that can win the next house of your dreams.

For a taste of how I preview a home, watch these previews of homes in May 2012.

Short home preview excerpt (1:53);

Long home preview excerpt (3:46).

In the shorter version, watch for what appears to be at first an excellent match  . . . until I peak through the sliding glass doors in the kitchen.

I welcome your comments!

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Let it rain . . and rain, and rain some more!

April 18, 2012 — If you’re a spring planter as many of my clients are, the rain we’re finally getting this week is so long overdue it likely won’t be enough to pull us out of the severe drought conditions we’re experiencing throughout the DC metro area.

The red dots in Northern Virginia, above, and throughout most of Maryland, below, illustrate the “severe hydrolic conditions” our region is experiencing, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. CREDIT: USGS

If you’re planting, be sure to shower your flowers and bushes with plenty of water. The same for lawns you’ve fertilized. The regional outlook stretching towards the end of April calls for little or no rainfall in the short term but then near normal rainfall afterwards (let’s hope), according to the National Weather Service.

Take special care if you’re getting ready to put your home on the market. You want maximize your ‘curb appeal’ to prospects.

Temperatures for our region are expected to be near or above normal. The U.S. Climate Prediction Center’s 30-day precipitation outlook for April as well as the 90-day outlook for April through June calls for near average rainfall and above average temperatures. Keep your fingers crossed. 🙂