Last Sunday I popped into an Open House in Vienna, VA to take a quick look at a home for sale. Yes, I can get in anytime with my SentriCard but, in this case, I was on my way home from showing a listing and it wasn’t out of my way. Market research and /or market knowledge is something my clients like to hear me discuss, so, I try and walk through as many homes as possible… and wow, was this home over-priced for the condition it was in.
As I was leaving and chatting with the agent, a couple came in for a look too. They parked their silver BMW with Washington D.C. plates right behind my car, obviously out looking at “open houses” in Vienna on a sunny Sunday afternoon.
Shopping for a house to buy must be based on comparison shopping
I always tell buyer clients that home shopping is comparison shopping at a whole new level. Of course that’s only when we are seeing everything available that they can really compare apples to apples. It is my straight forward buyer agent tip to assure them it is okay just to look.
But that couple from D.C. wasn’t going to see a home in better condition just up the road and priced $100,000 less because it wasn’t “open”. I showed that other home to a client a few days before and it had new hardwood floors, a remodeled kitchen, a new master bath that must have cost a pretty penny, and more square footage! Plus, the home they weren’t seeing also had tons more curb appeal.
There are just too many variables in homes to make conclusions from a picture and a paragraph… hence the word “real”. Real means tangible, and that’s why getting into all the homes available is a key strategy for finding the right house and ultimately living the way you imagined. It takes time to gain that knowledge and I add to that every week. I feel it is a safe bet that the D.C. couple would have been floored if I had showed them the competition.
I advise seller clients to prepare for comparison shoppers because they don’t want to sell the house down the street that appears to be a better value. And I advise buyer clients on the local real estate market, pros and cons of each house we see, mortgages, typical closing cost expenses, commuting options, schools, and sometimes where the closest Trader Joe’s is located.
I am now planning with clients for the 2015 market.
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