Finding the right home may sound like an easy process, but many buyers don’t realise that it can take more time and effort than they initially expected – especially if it’s not handled in the correct manner. Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa, Adrian Goslett, says that fortunately for buyers there are methods that can ease the stress of finding the ideal home that meets their criteria.
“With the sheer volume and wide variety of properties available on the market, perhaps the largest challenge that buyers face is deciding where to start. Statistically only a small percentage of buyers will purchase the first home that they view, and viewing a great number of random show homes will only create confusion and make the decision more difficult,” says Goslett. “Not having a clear plan of action and looking at numerous show houses in a short space of time will make it difficult to keep track of what each home has to offer, what you liked about each property and what it is selling for. Preparing beforehand by creating a concise plan will simplify the process and ultimately make the home buying decision far easier.”
Irrespective of how urgently you need to find a home, the decision should never be rushed. Rather than trying to get through as many properties as possible in the shortest amount of time, it is best to take your time and work methodically, viewing small numbers of properties at a time. “By working through only a few properties at a time you will be able to retain as much information about each home as possible. Buyers who are looking for a property urgently may be inclined to want to speed the process up by using multiple agents and cramming in as many show homes as possible in one day. However, while this may give you a broad view of the homes available on the market, it will make it next to impossible to keep track of which homes appeal to you the most, who showed you the home and why it was so appealing in the first instance,” says Goslett.
According to Goslett it is advisable to use only one real estate professional who has extensive knowledge of the area you are interested in and you are comfortable with. He adds that ideally prospective buyers should view no more than four homes on any given day. “A good, reputable agent will have a wide variety of listings on their books, but will be able to narrow down the search and viewings based on the information and criteria that you provide to them. Doing this will save massive amounts of time that would have been spent on viewing properties that don’t fit into your criteria,” says Goslett.
He provides a few ways that can be used to keep tabs on the various properties that have been viewed in order to compare them. These include:
• Take down notes on each and every property that is viewed. This can be done using a smartphone, tablet or the more traditional pen and notebook. Make a list of the pros and cons of each property, incorporating likes and dislikes and stand-out features.
• Document each home by taking photos - this can be done with the camera on your cell phone. Take photos of the interior and exterior of the home focusing on aspects that are particularly important to you.
• Only keep records of properties that you are really interested in.
• If in doubt about anything, talk to the agent who showed you the property. They will have a record of the homes that they have showed you and will have a list of each property’s features. Agents will know their listings and will be able to provide guidance through the often complex process of finding the right house.
“Buying a home can be both exciting and stressful. However, adopting a calm and logical approach and working through the process systematically will reduce the stress and allow you to fully enjoy the experience,” Goslett concludes.