How did you find your house?

elle481April 25, 2009

Just wondering (and I'm sorry if this thread was already listed). Listing agents are swearing by the internet as the only way to go, as far as buyers looking for homes. Sounds good and I do agree, to a point, as I am always on the computer. That said, the last home we bought, we saw it as photo ad in the paper and fell in love. Seeing it in person was the icing on the cake. Agents and brokers, up here (CT), are not thrilled with putting homes in the papers and don't want to spend $$$ for photo ads. Yet I still peruse the papers and check out the photos of what's out there.

So, how did you find the house you are currently living in?

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We found ours 9 years ago.

We visited the area we were interested in....and wandered into a RE office. We spoke with an agent, explaining exactly what we were looking well as our top price.

He showed us a number of homes on the MLS that were bigger and pricier than we wanted. He also told us to take a look at some new homes being built. They were also bigger and pricier than we wanted. So, before we left for home, I went into the local supermarket, and picked up a number of the RE books.

I plotted out mapwise the homes we were interested in seeing. We chose the second one we saw. A new construction, size and price were perfect, as well as all other attributes (including NO HOA).

Interestingly enough, we subsequenlty discovered that a REA from the very same office we visited had a contract on another home in the well as a relative of another agent. The homes are a mere few miles form that office.

Hard to believe the one we met with "forgot" to mention the only one that fit our requirements exactly. Perhaps because it was less costly then the others...

Anyway, to this day we marvel at what a score our home was/is, in all respects.

We could not be happier. :-D

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 1:10PM
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Three years ago, the internet, no help from our RE agent (we didn't expect any).

That said, my area still has a Saturday "Home Finder" where houses are listed, Realtors have full page ads and it is well read.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 3:30PM
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Every house we have owned we found via Open House.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 3:32PM
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Although we built our present home, but the last one we drove around the area we wanted to live in and saw the For Sale signs.....called the realtor....and saw it and bought it. Location is "key" for me.....but then we happen to like the HOAs because the area is kept so neat and tidy by all the homeowners.....but I know this is not for everyone, but our dues are only $20.00 a mo and includes a swimming pool, club house, and tennis courts.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 3:56PM
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We were transfered almost 9 years ago. I was in contact with a realtor in our new location and we went back and forth narrowing down listings that he'd email to me. I would look at the listings on and eliminate many up front. When we got into town the first day was spent looking at the homes we'd put on our "must see" list. We had only one home from that first day to put on our short list, and the homes we were scheduled to see the second day didn't seem as promising as the first homes we'd seen. The realtor picked us up at the hotel for our second day of house hunting and told us he came upon another house for us to look at that was just reduced to be in our price range. Since we had a little time before our first appointment and the home was vacant because it was owned by a relo company, we stopped off to see it. We loved it, it was at the top of our range, but move in ready. We finished looking at homes that day and didn't find anything else we liked as well. So the third day we looked at the home from our first day of househunting that made our short list, as well as the home from the second day that we liked. We made an offer on the relo owned home that was 95% of list, but with no contingencies except financing and inspection. There was another offer on the home, but they had a contingency to sell their home, so we got the house!

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 5:28PM
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Just purchased my first home 3 months ago. Saw it online about 8 months ago- the day it was listed and had an "OMG!" moment.Was not in a position to buy (still just looking at online listings) and assumed the house would be purchased shortly.

House was still available about 4 months later when we started earnestly looking- and that was it. I looked at it, had several "I love this house" moments and made an offer.

Never looked at newspaper ads/ never looked at FSBO sites, never drove around looking for "for sale" signs. Only looked at online MLS/ craigslist listings.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2009 at 6:40PM
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Bought last month. We looked for 18 months online through our local MLS.

Once we knew the neighborhood we wanted, we trolled the MLS until we saw something we liked. Then we'd call our agent and go look at it.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 2:45AM
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Brother visited and took 100 high resolution photos to email me, then signed for us with power of attorney.

We never saw it in person until the day we pulled into the driveway to move in.

I love it more today than ever and can't believe how lucky we are.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 12:11PM
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Internet. We looked off and on for a year in a particular neighborhood, and the first few months of that search was going to open houses to gauge what was available in our price range. We got to know the main brokerage firms working the neighborhood and bookmarked their websites to check during the week for new listings. We also did a weekly NY Times real estate section web search to find ads for FSBOs and smaller brokers with less of a web presence. When our house popped up on a small broker's website, the listing put it high on our must-see list. We saw the place at its first advertised Sunday open house, revisited Monday or Tuesday, had an accepted offer Friday and a signed contract within a week of that.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 12:19PM
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Current house (one year ago) --> craigslist

Last house (5 years ago) --> online, using the online MLS list emailed to us by the REA

Previous 2 houses (bought over 10 yrs ago) --> drove past

The most favorite house I ever had, we found while a REA was driving us around, showing us a bunch of awful split-levels and ranches (after we specifically told her we hated that style). It was 4 pm of the last day of our search and she drove past the house at about 60 mph. Whizzing by, we saw the beautiful historic colonial on acreage with a pond, big barn and silo and a big FS sign out front. Unanimously, DH & I literally shouted "STOP!" And while continuing to drive like a maniac, she flippantly said, "oh yeah, I saw that one earlier but thought you wouldn't like it." Hello - it's the house we had been looking for our whole life.

I used to look at newspapers and those RE mags from the grocery, but now I strictly search online and by driving around areas where I want to live looking for signs. I'm a huge fan of the drive-by, when I have the time to waste, because it eliminates so much of the deceptive ads and photos - you've already seen the lot and neighbors (or, most important, that Walmart next door that was cleverly cropped out of the listing photo).

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 5:53PM
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Internet. I would check the new listings in the morning and my husband who was working in the new location would check them out on his lunch hour. We also had an agent to set up the viewings.

    Bookmark   April 26, 2009 at 5:58PM
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I gave up using the paper. It seperates the houses by price not location. Also they hardly ever list anything I consider important in the ad.

I use online MLS searches and once I find a house that I like I drive by it then I will drive around the neighborhood looking for others. If I like it after driving by it I will contact my agent to go look at it and any others I found nearby.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 1:12AM
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We found our present home on the internet. Not that we were really looking for we only had 4 to 5 years left on the mortgage of our former home. I was just browing. Showed the wife and we went looking - seperately because of schedules.

The listing agent became our realtor for listing our former home. The realtor showed my wife about 10 different homes in our price range - I was off camping with my troop. My wife had her top 5 which was fine by me. I saw the top 5 the day before Thanksgiving. It was an easy choice for both of us - the one online was it.

My son and daughter-in-law are presently house hunting. Their realtor is using listing book to post homes in their price range. They pick and choose which ones to see. Since the postings have all the data including the address, one of them does a drive by to see if it is worth seeing in person.

Enjoy the journey
eal51 in western CT

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 8:06AM
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We found our home doing a drive around. We knew what town we wanted to live in do to the great school system. So we drove around town. The re sign was out in the front yard. We made an appointment to view the house. Mind you this was not the first house we had looked at. We did look in the mls book as to homes we may be interested in. Then we did drive bys. If the house looked ok we made an appointment to view. If we didn't like what we saw we passed on by. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 3:32PM
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ingrid_vc so. CA zone 9

We had planned to purchase a house on the outskirts of the town where I work but on a whim drove to a small rural community about ten miles away, liked what we say and a local realtor offered to drive us around. We loved the area and the next day contacted the realtor we were already using and told her of our new plan of where we wanted to live. We felt badly that we had wasted the other realtor's time but our realtor said she knew him and would take care of the situation. Just as well, as we later learned the other realtor did not have a very good reputation, and our realtor went on not only to find us our dream home in the hills, but sold my husband's condo (we were not married at that point) and the house I owned. Happy realtor and very happy clients!

    Bookmark   April 27, 2009 at 11:08PM
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I saw a home that had what I wanted in my price range over 12 years ago so I called the realtor that had the ad in the paper. She told me it was sold but she could help me find what I wanted that was not sold. She faxed me a list of the 10 houses we were going to look at Monday Morning. I asked my friend John if we could drive by them to see if I would be interested so I do not waster my time or her time on the locations I would not like or something about the home I hated. I was a first time home buyer and hated them all.

I called the realtor the next day and told her to not come by and waste my time since I hate them all. I had looked three years earlier and found nothing so I decided to move and rent a new modern 1.5 year old two floor apartment that had what I wanted (central air, dishwasher, washer and dryer as well as a great location and nice neighors despite being expensive) rather than buy what I disliked as I saved for what I wanted.

The realtor then faxed me over a layout asking me if that was what I had in mind and I told her it was perfect and why did she not show me it before. She told me it was a modern 7 year old stylish luxury townhouse in a very nice neighborhood near the post office, the bank, two shopping strip malls, highways but country like location. It had a fenced in backyard facing the woods and everything else I wanted excepted for a finished basement (the townhouses 3/4 mile away had this but for $50,000 more that I could not afford).

I went to see the townhouse with the balcony and fell in love before walking in the door. Inside was even nicer. I talked to neihbors and found out they were sound proof and everyone seemed to love the small townhouse complex community.

I then had my realtor show me a few other townhouses and another home and then I came back the next day and knew I wanted it despite at first not wanting to buy anything but an unattached home.

But I then had a call from another realtor who had a Bi-Level for the same price with an extra garage and an extra bedroom and a big backyard fenced in that was 7 years old but in a different location that I did not like as much.

I preferred the style and location of the townhouse despite the price being about the same and I put my bid on the home I have been living in for 12 years and still love.

Hence, my search started with the newspaper but I ended up buying something my realtor showed me.

    Bookmark   April 30, 2009 at 12:01AM
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I found my online, on a small local realtor's website. Which was a lucky find, because it was a "pocket listing" and wasn't on the MLS (probably due to the crazy difficult seller who'd had it on the market for years!).

If I hadn't sifted through ever listing on the website, I would never have found it.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2009 at 8:56PM
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Our last two houses were found on the internet.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 5:19PM
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DH and I looked for three years, off and on, (mostly 'off')once we decided we wanted to move to a farther-out suburb --and to which general area within that suburb. A realtor showed us about a dozen houses in person. Mostly we did drive-bys or went to open houses. We made an offer on one of the first houses we saw early on but it was rejected; seller would only take full price. Three years later we bought that property at the same price -- by then only a tad more than it was worth! (inflation)

We'd planned to remodel, but happily did a teardown. We moved in eight and a half years ago and LOVE the house, the neighborhood, the town.

I'm pretty amazed at some of the posts here. Many of you made what's usually the biggest investment of your life after only looking for a short time. (I know that sometimes there's no choice -- you are transferred, etc.)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2009 at 6:21PM
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We rented a home in the community next to friends of ours. We knew that they were building a home elsewhere. We liked the community, so when our friends moved, we bought their house.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2009 at 10:56PM
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Favorite broker called about a house about to go on the market in the area we wanted.

We purchased it 48 hours before it was officially for sale.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2009 at 9:54AM
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