I think it’s time to clarify something about real estate agents. Although we go to school and learn about the law, contracts, ethics and such, we don’t take a class in magic. I wish we did, it would be beyond helpful and fascinating all at the same time.
Unfortunately, more times than I thought possible, people will get in touch with a realtor and expect to find the impossible. I am all for tracking down a person’s dream house. It would make my day as much as the customer I would be working with. That said, sometimes the criteria that people come up with is just not going to help them find a place to live.
Let me give you an example. I spoke with someone recently that called about a home for sale. The home was pending, so I offered to find them another place to look at. I began to go down the list of information needed to find them a home. When I asked about the price range, they said they could not say because they only knew what they would pay for a condo. So I asked them what was the most they would consider paying for any place. The answer was nothing more than $25,000 but only for a condo (strange answer. but true). I then asked them if they had been pre-approved. They said that they would not be getting pre-approved, they would be paying in cash. So of course, that answered the question of how much they were willing to pay.
They gave me information on what cities, how many bedrooms and bathrooms and time frame. Basically, they could buy at any time, but were in no rush and had a place to stay until they found something. OK, so I asked for an email. This way, I could put in their criteria and they would receive an email whenever something matching their description was listed. If they liked what they saw, they could call me and I would set up an appointment for them to view the home. This potential customer had no email because it didn’t work out well for them (whatever that means) and said they would call me if they saw anything they were interested in. In the mean time, if I came across any condo’s for $25,000 or less in the area they were looking at, I could give them a call. There was just one final detail. They wanted a deal and only wanted to look at short-sales and foreclosures. The place would have to be move in ready with very minimal amount of work needing to be done (painting for example).
I spoke with another person recently who had to have at least three bedrooms, two bathrooms, a minimum of 1600 sq ft, a basement, garage and if I could find a pool it would be preferable. They didn’t want to pay more than $85,000 and had a list of only the most upscale neighborhoods to look at. Nothing else was reasonable to them. I couldn’t tweak the criteria for a one and a half bath or a home without a basement. Neighboring cities were out of the question. I put all of their information together and showed them that nothing was available.
This family had a deadline of sixty days before they would be without a home. They also felt they should be able to get a deal on a short-sale or foreclosed home in move in condition. I showed them that with a few tweaks to their criteria they could get a fabulous move in ready home in their price range with the square feet they wanted. The response was that they knew that if they waited it out the right home would fall into their lap.
Look, I don’t want to see any family end up homeless. I suggested they look into an apartment while they searched for the home of their dreams. Maybe it is out there, somewhere. Who am I to judge? I can only go off of what our computer program pulls up for homes on the market.
In the end, if someone is looking for a home, they might want to consider a few things. Foreclosures and short-sales are often not nearly the deals people think they are. Months can go by after an offer is accepted and then the deal might fall through. Having a short time line of when you need to be in a home pretty much cancels out trying to get one of these “supposed” bargains. Another thing to consider is that most of these homes are truly wrecked and need professional help to restore them.
Housing prices in general are going up at a fairly good clip. What you saw a few months back is not the price you will get on that same home today. The last thing I would like to mention is that some concessions might need to be made. Make a list of the most important traits a home should have. Sure, reach for the sky and try to get everything you would like. At the same time, be aware that everything is a pretty tough thing to find and that having a few items you are willing to give up can make the difference between getting a home or living without one.