Where do you think you would like to live? What is your family situation? Are you moving for a job, or for a more permanent reason? Do you plan to stay in the area for 5 years? 10 years? How about 50 years? There are great data and demographic research sites available to help you find a place that suits your needs. CNNMoney gives an award for the annual “Best Places to Live” in America. For more information on a specific area, try real estate listing sites like AOL Real Estate, Trulia.com, or Zillow.com. Even a site like NeighborhoodScout.com is a great place to research potential areas. The real estate listing possibilities are endless.
You should then research the recent home sales in your new area. Compare what you may have to pay with what you would like to pay, or with what you have been qualified to pay. Focus more on selling prices than on asking prices. Your RCM agent will have all that information, and he or she can serve as a fantastic resource.
Even if you don’t have children, and if you don’t plan on having children, you will need to know the national rating of the schools in your prospective neighborhood. This will affect the potential resale value of your soon-to-be new home. If you can’t find specific criteria, like nationalized testing scores, crime rate figures, and similar statistics, you can utilize stats like lower student-teacher ratios or higher graduation rates, which generally point to highly rated schools. And if the elementary and middle schools are trending high, but all the local public high schools appear to be suffering, beware. This is generally a negative trend for school ratings, and in the long run, for your potential resale value.
If homes are selling close to the asking price in their original real estate listing criteria, then people clearly want to live in the area. This could mean that you want to live there too, and that you will have an easy time reselling your home if you need to.
People often buy houses, or at least search for them, when it’s warm outside. If you have the gall to search for a house in the winter, you may have your pick of very good real estate listings.
Websites like Realtor.com and Yahoo Real Estate Listings can really help when you are mapping out the exact parameters of what you need in a house. If you know what kind of square footage you’re looking for, along with amount of the bedroom space, number of bathrooms, and even things like office workspace and nurseries, or attic storage, you can search for your chosen criteria on these sites.
Try not to limit yourself when you search for real estate listings. Give yourself a few miles of cushion when you browse homes in your preferred location. Similarly, give yourself a little wiggle room on square footage, and on other trivial items as well. You wouldn’t want to miss out on a great house just because your real estate listing search criteria was too narrow. First-time buyers should also look at condominiums and co-ops. These can really expand your options.
When you do find a house you’d like to see, bring a notepad and a camera, or utilize your smartphone to collect as much data as possible on the listing. If you see multiple houses, stay organized and keep track of the details of each property. From your RCM agent, you will receive an information sheet featuring house descriptions, property tax amounts, asking price, and primitive blueprint layouts. Jot down anything else that the realtor might say about the house, such as heating or cooling efficiency, or any other important details.
If at first you’re not completely sold on a home, don’t write it off completely. Remember that as soon as you buy a place, you can customize it to suit your needs. That’s the beauty of owning your own house! Want a pool but love a place that doesn’t have one? Buy the house and build it yourself. It’s yours!
RCM National Realty is an exclusive boutique real estate company. Our mission is to help clients customize their buying or selling experience to best fit their families’ schedule and housing needs. With our diverse group of agents, it is easy to find a qualified professional who understands your market of choice. Let RCM National Realty open the doors to your real estate dreams!