Starting Your Search

How do I start the home search? One way is to review online real estate listings that meet your criteria. If you decide to work with an agent, have him or her show you four or five houses that piqued your interest. (Looking at more than five houses at one time is likely to leave you more confused than enlightened). Be candid with your agent about what you like and dislike in the houses you see. The more you communicate with your agent, the easier it will be to find a house.

How do appraisers come to their conclusions? Most appraisers determine market value by comparing the subject property with three similar homes in the vicinity that have sold and closed within the past six months. The appraiser adds to the value of the subject property if it has amenities not found in the comparable houses. Value is subtracted if the subject property lacks amenities in comparison to the others homes.

How important are open houses? Open houses can be very important. Touring a number of houses in a short period of time is the best way to learn market value and to educate yourself about what is available. But if you limit your home search to only those homes, you may miss out on a house that is right for you.