Why did you initially view your current house?

rrahDecember 20, 2013

There are lots of threads here that indicate marketing, pictures, etc. are important to generating showings of houses for sale. I've been thinking about this a bit as my H and I look to downsize in the not too distant future.

As a former Realtor I have my own ideas about what really sells a house. It comes down to a place that meets the most needs and wants of a particular buyer with the fewest objections: nothing more, nothing less. A good Realtor (sales person) can help a buyer overcome those objections, but ultimately each buyer will make a decision on his/her own. All a seller can do is price the house correctly and eliminate as many potential objections as possible. It really comes down to a buyer.

What I am interested in hearing is what made you look at your current house? How did you find it? Was it your decision to see this house or was it the decision of an agent? I have some pretty firm thoughts about this, but I am smart enough to know my thinking maybe off due to having worked as an agent. I'm interested in hearing the experience of all of you.

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We found it on the mls as a started spec house and met our major criteria if out in the country with minimum acerage, space to build a shop and minimum required bedrooms and baths. Not flood plain area and on a paved street that had some restrictions so good for resale (hard to find out in the country). I knew the kitchen had major drawbacks as designed and will at some point do something about it and a few other things. The style also looked like something that would fit in the country. Sort of a Cape with dormers and a large and deep front porch. We also came in at a point so we could make sure we didn't have to have carpet anywhere and the framing allowed us to put in a central vaccum (allergy concerns). Floorplan was ok - if I'd built from scratch I would have made some changes. We don't need two dining areas for example.

We sent a list of all the properties we wanted to see and went on a all day shopping tour - didn't live in the area. This one wasn't our first choice, but we couldn't come to terms with the seller on our first choice so we moved on to this one. When we saw it all the trim was painted a baby poop yellow and it was the first thing we brought up via our agent before even making an offer and the builder said it was a mistake and was being repainted. He was very reasonable and we felt like it was worth putting in an offer since he was open to some other customization as well.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 8:32AM
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my brother-in-law lived across the street. The house went on the market, we toured it, loved it, asked to sign the papers, found out we were second in line that it was already under contract. :(

Went home, 8 years later the phone rang. The guy who got the house was selling...we toured it again and bought it.


    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:42AM
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robo (z6a)

We were actively looking for a house and working with a realtor. He had taken us out probably four times to see a handful of houses each time. He was SUPER nice and conscientious. We knew our budget (not super high, not 'starter home'), expectations, desired neighborhoods and the market. At that point we were kind of waiting for something to come on the market.

There were a few houses we loved from the photos but backed away from due to condition issues (I'll never forget the one where a HUGE cantilevered deck was literally pulling up the main floor with a huge dip near the masonry fireplace marking the original floor level - when our realtor called theirs, she was like "What dip?" and we got the heck out). One we both loved but went under contract the day we looked.

Finally our house came up. In Nova Scotia we have a system that shows us listings as soon as realtors get them, so I saw it pop up first. I'm confident my realtor would have seen it soon anyway, but the market was very hot for that neighborhood so I contacted him and we saw it right away.

What attracted me to it? It was above our original budget by about 30% but within reach esp. since it was close enough to my work that I didn't need a car. It was in our second most-desired neighbourhood. It was big and dated, but they had done a fair job decluttering and staging so it looked clean and well maintained. The combination of size, quality, neighborhood and price had my husband asking "What's the catch?" No catch, just a conservative sellers' realtor and buyers who needed out, like, yesterday. Well, we gave them almost full asking and they got out.

We were advantaged because NS has no concept of bidding wars. Buyers expect to pay a bit below asking and sellers set their prices accordingly. For this house, in this neighborhood, I imagine they could have gotten quite a bit more had they played their cards right.

On the other hand, we were fully financed buyers just sitting waiting for the right house to come along, so maybe it's true that your first buyers are your best ones!

Would we have gone to see this place with or without pictures? Yes. The photos the realtor took weren't great - the house showed better in person.

On the other hand, my neighbour across the street is having a hard time selling her very charming house because she has an inexperienced seller's realtor. It may be the gal's first listing. The realtor has underestimated the square footage by QUITE a lot and the photos make the house seem much tinier than it is. I went to an open house and was shocked how big the place is - a fact I tried to emphasize to the realtor several times, but it fell on deaf ears. So the neighbour is having very few people come through and has had to drop her price several times. Whoever ends up with that house is going to get a real bargain.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 10:45AM
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We worked with a realtor who knew us well. We wanted to stay in the suburb we were in, wanted a specific neighborhood elementary school but would consider one other town so our search was limited to those 2 towns. We needed more space but refused to get in over our heads financially so were not willing to make a huge $$ leap from the house we were in and had looked for over 8 months, I lost count on the number of homes. DH is an engineer and in the home remodeling/repair business so we were looking for good bones, a solid house that hadn't been butchered (very rare) - no fear of updating. We walked in the front door and knew barring any large issues we would make an offer. It needed e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g including an addition but had a stellar location and all the possibility we wanted. We spent close to 2 hours looking at everything and put in a clean offer waiving the inspection. Best of all it cost us just 30k more than what we sold our old house for and all the updating we did was done out of pocket. We're still here but getting ready to make a big life change.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 3:43PM
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We had very specific needs. We have more pets than typical subdivisions allow so we either needed an unrestricted property or needed an acreage subdivisions that didn't have numeric limits on pets. Of course we had a price range in mind and a very wide geographic area (could be in 3 counties). We also had some specifics for the house (1 story, x number of bedrooms, etc.).

I found the house myself. I did MLS searches and found likely subdivisions then I would look up their deed restrictions online to see if they were OK. Doing this I weeded out several subdivisions.

I did give criteria for geographic area and specific houses to my buyer's agent and she set up some automated searches for me. That cast a much wider net than I was searching (since her search didn't cover the pet thing). The house we ended up buying was on her list, but I had already seen the listing from my own efforts. There were only a few houses that turned up on her list and met our criteria that I hadn't already found myself.

When we chose this house we visited 4 houses all in this subdivision. We got to this one from a process of elimination. They were all 1 story houses with the specified number of rooms we wanted.

We saw the houses in this order:

One house was OK, had enough rooms, but was a couple hundred feet smaller than we wanted and had a not ideal layout. It is possible we could have ended up with it had we not found better alternatives. When we left it, we still had it on our mental list but weren't enthusiastic. This was the least expensive of the houses.

The next house we rejected because it had one fewer room than the listing specified (they had double counted a room). We really liked that house otherwise but the missing room was a deal breaker.

The third house was very interesting. It was the most expensive of the bunch (top of our range). The owner of the house was a builder who had designed the house. It had some very specific and unusual layout choices. I sort of liked most of them, DH liked them less. Some of them, though would have required dollars to fix. The house did have some very nice features as well. We left the house wondering how much it would cost to redo one part of the house to make it more functional for us.

House 4 was the next to least expensive. It had a layout that was very good. It had a great kitchen. We had tried to buy a house in another subdivision the week before that had needed a complete kitchen remodel so it was really nice to see a kitchen that was already done. There were a few things I didn't like. The master bath vanities needed to be redone, but it wasn't urgent so not a dealbreaker. The sellers really needed to sell (divorce situation) so I felt we wouldn't have difficulty negotiating a deal. DH and I left the house and decided within 5 minutes after leaving to make an offer.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 4:17PM
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We were new to the area and we're driving around looking at listed homes when we suddenly took a wrong turn and found ourselves in an idyllic neighborhood welhere kids were riding bikes and outside playing there was even a small neighborhood park with new equipment. The houses were all well kept and cute. Although the homes were smaller and older than we hadthought we needed up to that point. It didn't matter-- we wanted this small secluded neighborhood. Alas, there was not a single home for sale in it. We waited and the sale on a house that had been under contract flipped. We were there by 8:00 am-- ran through the house and barely looked at it before putting in a full price offer. Best thing we ever did-- the neighborhood was all we had hoped it would be and more. Still there 15 years later and the house that seemed a little small has become just right as the kids have grown and moved on. Our first home we bought because we lived the house itself-- not a mistake we'd ever make again. Neighborhood is everything, I learned. Pardon my errors. Writing on my phone on the train.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 5:31PM
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Location. Say that 2 more times. Just about everything else can be fixed.

I'm always surprised when I see these home buying shows on TV - they never ask about the school district, the taxes, the furnace, crime statistics, age of the roof, the people in the neighborhood.

My first RE purchase was a condo. It was a block from the ocean and in good condition, I thought I had done my homework. Two days after I moved in, I realized...I was the only person under 80 in the whole building of 16 units!
So yeah, check your neighbors.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 7:56PM
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We were transferred in to the area and found a long term rental that allowed us to shop a bit more leisurely than the 3 day blitz shopping that many have to do. We had some very specific criteria for the property, and less so for the home itself or it's location as long as it was within a 45 minute commute to work. We needed outbuildings and some room, with a friendly municipality to building another larger outbuilding. The house merely had to be new enough that it had a modern electrical service and plumbing and insulation. Pretty much everything else could be fixed without too much effort.

So, we ended up with a very patient realtor taking us around to different properties in a 3 country area for about 14 months. (This was 20 years ago, before the internet.) We bought one of the smallest and cheapest homes in a neighborhood of nicer homes with property. For a pretty good deal. And everything we have done to bring it up to date aesthetically gives us a much higher rate of return because we bought smaller and cheaper than the neighborhood average and then brought it up to average with our DIY labors. By the time we get through with it's makeover, the property will be too much for us and we'll probably need to downsize and move.

This post was edited by GreenDesigns on Fri, Dec 20, 13 at 20:16

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 8:13PM
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Location and land. The house was right next to my daughter, in a very nice suburb with an acre lot. The dead end street ends at a metropark with walking trails and a river. I am four houses away from woods and path where the park dead ends. Also the area has one of the lowest crime rates in the state.

I viewed nicer houses in the suburb-but this location was prime for me. Also the house had a full basement, two car garage, and AC. Good bones but needs updating. I walked in the house and within 10 minutes I was going to do whatever it took to buy it.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 8:29PM
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Our house was built in 1919 and much of it was and is still original...tons of wood, including many built-ins, and NONE was painted!

OLd and original and well maintained. Say no more!

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 9:07PM
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Location. Location. Location.

We wanted to live in very very near the golf course. We looked at 3 houses within about a 2 week period, all similar size, style, and price. DH and I both ranked them - he ranked them 1, 2, and 3 and I ranked them 3, 2, and 1!!!!! AAAuuuuggghhhh!!!!

So we compromised and bought #2.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2013 at 11:51PM
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It was 2010; a strange time in real estate here. Almost all of the houses on the market were bank owned, short sales or somewhere in the foreclosure process. Getting even a reply from the banks for a full-priced offer often didn't happen. Often, the banks wanted the owed amounts for underwater, long-vacant, trashed homes. That was frustrating.

I was searching on a MLS site, and saw a house that I wanted to see in a neighboring, secondary-location city. There were only a few photos, none of which showed anything special and nothing that raised alarms, and it had been on the market for a while with price drops. I liked that it was an equity sale, not in an HOA area, the price was within range (although at the top and more we had hoped to have to pay for a house unless it was a dream home) and it offered more square footage for the price over most of the houses we had seen.

Our Realtor kind of dismissed my interest in this one for some reason, but agreed to get us a showing. It had a good floor plan, with extra rooms and a yard that was ok in size. But there were some big negatives: yard was 90% concrete and most of it would have to be removed, the house had not been upgraded in decades (if ever) and would need all-new appliances immediately and updating throughout eventually. A new roof and windows would be needed soon. The to-do list was very long, but they were all doable. So even though we were not in love with the house, it had pluses and no major negatives we could not live with or fix with work, time and an acceptable amount of money.

So I found the house; the Realtor arranged the showing. My husband and I decided if the house would work for us and what we would be willing to pay for it; she didn't really have input about that nor sold us over about anything objectionable, because we knew what we needed/wanted and what resources we had available. We decided on the price offered (5% under the current asking price, which our Realtor thought was going to be too low, but ended up being equal to the final price); she did the negotiating. She did walk us through the mountains of paperwork and answered our process questions, for which we were grateful because this was our first home purchase.

I think the ratio of input and decision-making made by the buyers vs. the Realtor depends upon the preparedness of the buyers. We had lived in the area for 15 years and had researched and worked out all of the wants/needs/value details before signing up with a Realtor. If we hadn't been familiar with the local market, the Realtor's expertise would have been leaned on more heavily out of necessity.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 6:45AM
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What I am interested in hearing is what made you look at your current house?

How did you find it? - Zillow, looking in a certain area for houses with a certain Bd/Ba number in our rather wide price range.

Was it your decision to see this house or was it the decision of an agent? - Ours. We handed her a list of the ones that were candidates for viewing.

Factors that definitely helped a house get on our list ...

GOOD PICTURES - Clear, well-lit pictures of the major areas and an overview of the property.

GOOD FEATURE LIST - When the type of heat is "unknown", the roof type is "unknown" and the type of construction is "unknown" ... why should I waste time on a viewing?

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 7:47AM
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We had been looking at houses for a few years with the same realtor. We are in our 50's, looking for our forever home that we would love, so we were extremely picky. Over time our realtor got a sense of what did/didn't appeal to us. She knew what we wanted-- it just didn't seem to be available. One day I was looking at a new listing online and just got the sense it was "the one." Before I could call our realtor to ask to see it, she called me and said she had just been to a brokers' open house and had found us "the house." It was the same house. We went to see it the next day and put in an offer that day.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2013 at 4:25PM
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    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 1:49AM
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What I am interested in hearing is what made you look at your current house?

We were just looking for a 4BR house in our current neighborhood (we owned a 3BR). We looked at everything in our price range. So location was a big deal - we we looking in about a 2 sq mile radius (schools).

How did you find it?

It came in my inbox via both Redfin and the automatic search that my realtor set up. Same day.

Was it your decision to see this house or was it the decision of an agent?

It was ours, but like I said - we looked at everything in our price range, and saw it within a couple days of being listed. It was really just a matter of me calling her first; she would have called me with it had I not. There wasn't much in our price range. Fewer than 10 houses. We didn't seriously look until our house was under contract (I had gone to neighborhood open houses, but that's it), so we didn't have a ton of time to house hunt. We would have raised our price range before renting; thankfully we didn't have to.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 2:15AM
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We had the opportunity to move (back to for me) to Maine through a job transfer. We jumped at it. School rating was the most important thing for us. Commuting didn't matter. Schools did. We must have looked at close to 100 homes over 2 years. We were looking at all types of homes, but the majority were old,100 years or more. It is just the type of house we like. Looked at new ones too, but they don't say "home". To sterile and most were not as nearly well built as the old ones. I might add we did not mind DIY projects we are pretty handy and as long as the bones were good we didn't care about redoing kitchens or roofs,etc. We found our present house by ourselves. After going through multiple homes with the RE, we just decided to look through the MLS book and see what we would like. We saw homes that would fit what we were looking for and then do a drive by. No need to waste the RE agents time or ours with houses that we could tell just from looking at the outside we would not buy. Saw our present house doing a drive by for another house. It had been on the market for some time. When you went inside you understand why. The decor was awful. 6 different colors in the kitchen alone with only 3 cabinets and a sheet linoleum checker board print floor (and that was only the kitchen) ! There was disgusting carpet in the front bathroom. All the rooms needed painting in normal colors. BUT, it had wonderful cypress moldings, built ins and crown molding, tin ceilings and wood ceilings, maple and pine wood floors through out. Ornate cast iron radiators. Because others were afraid to take on the task of redoing the this house, we got it at a price we were happy with. It was on the main road into town and is a corner lot, other things that some people think are negatives. They haven't been to us. We love this house. NancyLouise

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 8:23AM
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I enjoy keeping up on real estate and always watch for new listings online. When we were buying this year I looked daily to see what was available. Searched a local agencies site that gives access to the MLS. I gave our realtor a list of about 5 houses. We'd already driven past them and done research online to qualify the houses. We looked In a specific area with a broad price range depending on the house and updates needed. After price and location, good clear pictures of all the big parts of the house inside & out got my attention. Curb appeal helped when we drove by. After that the house either sold it itself or it didn't. Our realtor didn't really find the houses or try to sell any of them. Location, price, pictures, curb appeal, and accessibility got us in the door or it didn't.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 10:45AM
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We were transferred to another state and found our home on Zillow and it was also on our realtor's list to show. Location is always important. We don't have children in school anymore but a good school system usually translates to higher resale. Our home had white trim and kitchen cabinets which had appeal because wood limits color options, can darken rooms, and can date kitchens easily. Open concept, which we preferred for our lifestyle, because a good floor plan is better than having extra but awkward square footage. We always keep an eye on potential resale appeal and that has helped us when we've had to move unexpectedly, in the past. For us it comes down to price, location, schools, floor plan, potential that is easy for us or the next home owner to expand, i.e., a large basement that has room to put in a bathroom for a value add.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 7:47PM
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What I am interested in hearing is what made you look at your current house?
The location - very private, and the size of the lot - just over an acre.

How did you find it? We were considering building and a builder we considered said he had a home he had just foreclosed and asked if we wanted to see it as it had many of the things we were looking for.

Was it your decision to see this house or was it the decision of an agent? Ours.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 10:46PM
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Last house (recently sold): We were basically looking at everything in our price range, driven around by our agent on a couple house-hunting trips.

Current house: I was watching realtor.com, and it came on the market for $15K. The price got me in the door, and because it was so low, condition didn't matter.

Currently looking for house: Again, I continue to watch realtor.com for the new listings. The only thing that are definites that I screen out are location (busy street or neighborhood I don't care for) and style of house (hate split levels, won't buy a log house or one of those funky "modern" ones built in the early 80s). Other than that, I'll look at anything if it seems like the square footage will be sufficient.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2013 at 11:20PM
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When we were house hunting, our agent asked us one day if we wanted to look at this house that was under construction. This house had just popped up on the RMLS and was under construction, but it was in the right price range and in a good location (for us).

However, the house was on a flag lot - our agent warned us that lots of people don't like them, but we didn't even know what a flag lot was, so we said OK, we'd look.The house was barely roughed in when we arrived - the roof was on and the siding had gone up, but there was no garage door - the floor had just been poured that week. There was no drywall up inside, no kitchen cabinets, only subfloors down, etc. But, we could imagine where everything would go, and knew it would be a perfect fit for our family. We made an offer that morning.

Friends and family were horrified. They thought the location was horrid (the area had been known as "Felony Flats") and they didn't like the house. They thought it was beneath us, especially since we were moving from a charming vintage Craftsman bungalow (that had nickel and dimed us nearly to death and was too small for our famiy. The flag lot was not on anyone's hit parade either.

Fast forward eight years: The neighborhood is now one of the most desirable in the city, and the nearby elementary school, which was near to being closed when we arrived, is now one of the top schools in the city, with waiting lists to get in. Friends and family love the quiet, privacy and safety we enjoy living back off the street on our flag lot. The house has not only held its value but has increased in value quite a bit as well.

This is a house we would never have found on our own, and we're so glad our agent saw it and thought it might work for us. It's been perfect for us.

This post was edited by hunanmom on Mon, Dec 23, 13 at 0:38

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 12:29AM
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It was one of 100+ that our agent showed us during three weekend trips. In fact, it was the last one she showed us, 5 years ago. It was, as you wrote, a place that met the most of our needs and wants with the fewest objections - with the addition being that it also was available within our time limit. If I'd had more time, there is no doubt that we would have kept looking.

We were tired of looking and under too much pressure. We had lost out on two previous homes and as a result had been living in a hotel with our kids. The first home was bank owned and they didn't respond to our offer (or anyone's offer - they eventually rented it out). That home is the exact duplicate of the one we eventually bought, except with a better location :-( The other home came in with a low appraisal, shortly before closing date. We offered to meet the sellers half way but they refused.

Imho, our agent wasn't very good at selling. She never pointed out good features, never tried to 'sell' us on a home by counteracting our objections or by reminding us of our goals. She didn't guide us through the offer process. All she did was look at the mls and drive us around. Looking back, I believe she was too inexperienced at selling and was unfamiliar with the area.

She made two major mistakes with this home that still make me angry to this day. She also *constantly* sends us emails and cards in the mail offering her services. I'd never hire her again nor recommend her to anyone else.

I know a lot more about home buying now and next time it will be myself who finds the home.

This post was edited by ladynimue on Mon, Dec 23, 13 at 20:35

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 5:34AM
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ladynimue, what were the two mistakes your realtor made?

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 2:53PM
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Martti8a, the first and worst mistake was telling us that the home we purchased was in the wrong neighborhood/HOA. We are in fact part of a small area in the middle of the community that does *not* belong to that HOA, thus we have no rights to use the pool or golf area, something that was important to us & was considered when making our offer. In fact, it was the only neighborhood we wanted by that point in our looking. (We were long distance company relocation)

Apparently there had been some sort of disagreement between builders and this arrangement was part of the settlement. We did read the HOA paperwork, but not well enough to put 2 & 2 together. I accept full blame for not catching that, but I also feel that the realtor should have known and should have also taught us a little about what to look for when reading HOA documents.

The 2nd mistake was in not taking us for a final walk through. I didn't even know that was an option. We closed Friday at noon. Our furniture was delivered on Monday. During closing the PO's stated they had a few things in the garage to remove and could they get them later? We said that was okay but we weren't happy about it as we were tired of the hotel and excited to 'camp out' in our new home. We felt we had no choice at this late point and the realtor offered no input or guidance.

We arrived a couple hours later to find a filthy home, food still in the fridge and some in cupbards. Dirty dishes, bedding on floors as well as many of their personal belongings throughout the house. The garage had not been cleared at all. My husband was furious!

When the PO arrived it became clear that they were in the midst of a bad divorce and were not at all civil with each other. She had moved, it was the 'leftovers' and the man's stuff everywhere. We ended up helping them pack and load things for many hours, until after 10pm, just to get them the hell out. It was all horribly awkward and icky and such a deflating let down after being so excited.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2013 at 8:32PM
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Combination of seeing it on the internet and then visiting - realizing - we could live here. My husband loved the house and I did as well. I have more vision but my husband had to see what the house was. Really Happy with what we bought. I think you have to be sure both partners agree.

    Bookmark   December 25, 2013 at 7:13PM
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My current house was my first house and is my forever house. I was working in a different city M-F for my job and was toying with the idea of relocating there. My best friend and her husband decided to start looking for a house in my home city so I joined in the hunt to help them find a place. Then, just on a whim, I decided to look and see what was available if I were looking for a house. I made a list of what I would want and punched it into a realty site. Turns out there was a house right up the street from my childhood home that met my minimum criteria and I told myself I was in love with it. It was a total and complete wreck on the inside but I considered it a blank slate. Since I wasn't officially looking, I hadn't arranged for any kind of financing and, by the time I did, the house had sold. I went ahead and got my financing in order so that wouldn't happen again and started back looking. While viewing one of the properties from the web site, the realtor for that seller introduced herself and she became my realtor. She began sending me listings for homes that had five or six of the ten things I had on my list. Her philosophy was that you will never find exactly what you want for your first house and it generally doesn't matter because you will eventually sell that house for a new one that meets your new, seasoned homeowner criteria.

A few months later on Memorial Day, I was searching the realty site and saw my current house. What made me want to go and look at it was that the specs were everything I wanted and then some. The pictures weren't stellar but they were enough to pique my interest. I called the number on the listing to leave a message that I'd like to see the property and the realtor answered. She gave me some additional information and we set a date to see the property the next day. With my travel schedule, I didn't want to wait and potentially miss out on it. I then called my realtor and let her know when and where the showing was. I walked in and knew I wanted it. We finished the tour and put in an offer. I didn't do any of the usual due diligence because I didn't know any better but, five years later, I still love my house for all of the reasons I bought it!

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 2:58PM
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Location and price.
In all instances, it was me who found the property and then asked my realtor to set up an appointment.

    Bookmark   December 26, 2013 at 5:40PM
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Honestly it was so odd looking and the group of four, each slightly different were such a mismatch to the general neighborhood, that I went to an open house purely out of curiosity. The location is also perfect-- but I was trying to stay in that locale anyway.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2013 at 4:56PM
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We were in another small town where we had moved from Florida three years before. DH wanted to move one town over, which would put him five minutes from work. I dragged my feet looking, as I lived our existing house. Finally called the realtor who sold us the original house and started looking. We only wanted homes that had tennis courts or enough land for one, and had no price range, really, as we were willing to pay for what we (read that as "he") really wanted. We looked at 10 or 15 houses with our realtor and ended up with one I didn't much care for--- but it was the only time in 22 years DH had ever even expressed an opinion about where we lived, so I acquiesced. Eight years later we have renovated the entire house, top to bottom, inside and out, including landscaping. We bought it for $600k and put another $450k in it, and will NEVER be able to sell for what we've got in it. I now call it "the Mausoleum" .......resale will be our kids' problem.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 2:08PM
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My husband went looking for what I wanted in a house while I stayed home with the babies, one of whom was not a good seat belt sitter.

I asked for a house with windows across the back, a back yard on a high enough elevation for the feeling of spaciousness, and kitchen/family room that stretched across the whole back of the house with the kitchen having a full view of the family room, 4 bedrooms, 2 baths and powder room. Good school district.

This house was one of the finalists. It seemed the sunniest and would be built over the next year. We could wait. Glad we did. It has been a good home to raise a family.

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 10:05PM
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We were looking all over, in our city, the suburbs, and the towns beyond the suburbs; we didn't have a specific place in mind. I saw an open-house listing on a street in a neighborhood that I knew to be a beautiful one, big old houses, trees, and convenient to everything. I said to my husband "It's way too big for us, and too expensive, but let's go look. It's probably a beautiful house." We walked up to the front door under a bower of pink and white magnolia blossoms. Uh-oh. We went in, split up, scoured the place from attic to basement, met on the stair landing and I said "This is a GREAT house!" We put in an offer that day and we've been here for 8 years. They'll have to carry us out.

The thing that attracted us, though, was this great historic neighborhood with its beautiful houses and mature trees, so I guess you could say "Location."

    Bookmark   December 29, 2013 at 10:32PM
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Location, schools assigned to the neighborhood, lifestyle (e.i. how far to grocery store, subway, parks, schools,library, and entertainment). My current house is not my dream home but it is a dream because it met all the important criteria on my list. Most important the location allows me to have pretty close to the lifestyle I'd like to have - more walking less need for a car but with space and in a neighborhood with children and great schools for my kids.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 10:08AM
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lyfia could have written my post; so many similarities!

Looking to relocate; searched online and planned to look at a bunch in the area. Area is fairly new so mapquest wasn't always right so we made a wrong turn. Pulled into the driveway of this house to turn around, saw there was an open house the next day and looked at it. Six months later, the house was still available so we bought it.

My realtor was my ex-DIL and was the key to getting into the house, I did everything else.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 11:53AM
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We wanted to have a house in a top school district, a good neighborhood with convenient location. We both are over researching, over thinking and over analyzing type, after a little while we realized we knew more about the houses in our price range and in the areas we searched than most realtors we dealt with

A realtor âÂÂabandoned" us because we were too inquisitive, such as asking R-value of the house he showed us. He hates computer, and was frustrated with us who work in high tech field. It took us (read, DH) a long while to terminate service agreement with a buyerâÂÂs agent who was drop dead gorgeous but was a big space cadet. We decided to find houses ourselves first and then called the listing agents. We finally found a house fit most of our wants and needs, by then we had looked at over 100 houses and spent 10 months.

This house was the house before our current home. Once day right after we completely updated the house's roof, flooring, window coverings and appliances..etc. one of the neighbors knocked our door asking if we knew anyone wanted to buy their FSBO house. We went over to checkout the place, in 30 minutes we put in the offer and they accepted.

It has been almost 14 years since we moved in our current home, we still love the place.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 12:29PM
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Such interesting replies. It does seem that many of you decided on a location before looking. I guess the old adage of location, location, location is true. Not much one can do about a location though. I know our location won't be for everyone as it's not in town. It's worked for us for over a decade, even while the kids were in high school and younger with lots of trips to activities, etc. We've not minded the 15 minute drive to shopping, etc. as it's mostly on a highway with no traffic. It's about as close to town as one can get if one wants more than an acre.

It seems there is a pretty even split between those that found the house themselves or asked to see it and those that followed an agent's suggestion. Maybe slightly more that found it themselves.

Again, interesting to read all of your posts. I suppose I should add my experience for our land. H and I scoured the internet for lots and sent them to our agent. When I came down alone to look around, I drove by many of them and eliminated some. Our agent showed me the rest. When we came into our neighborhood, I fell in love with the quiet and the views, but I did not love the lot that I "thought" was for sale. It wasn't well marked. I wished that the one next to it was for sale as it looked perfect. When H came down a few weeks later to view my top choices, he was excited to come home and tell me that the lot I didn't love was for sale, but there were also two others (again--it was very poorly marked) for sale. When he showed me the satellite views I was very excited. Another agent was also able to convince the owner of the lot we built on to sell it. This is the one I really wished was for sale initially. We overpaid for it, and knew it, but we loved it--still do, but we realize it's too much property for just two people now.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 4:49PM
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We looked for about a week with an agent that we met at an open house. She was really good about zeroing in on what we liked and didn't like about the houses she showed us. We were willing to do some work, but didn't want a total "fixer." One place was perfect except that the kitchen was both tiny and brand new.

We actually wanted a story and a half with the upstairs unfinished so we could make it a master. At the end of the week, we found it. We've been here 28 years now. It took us 20 years to get the master totally done (we got plans done, had the electrical and plumbing and new windows and drywall installed, then there was a big hiatus.) Now it's fabulous. Of course we've spent more on it over the years than we paid for it. She warned us that houses hadn't appreciated much in the past decade in Seattle. We've ridden a few booms and busts since then and it seems to be booming again, but we were just looking for a place to live.

There were tradeoffs regarding location. It's near a busy street, which you can hear when hanging out on the deck. Alas, that season is short here, and it is also near the zoo and a very popular urban lake and walking trail. And 4 miles from downtown, easy public transport, etc. So there are always pluses and minuses. A few years ago, a neighbor cut down some trees and gave us a view of Mt Rainier, though!

I wonder how different the process would have been if there had been internet in 1986. We might not have looked at it after seeing how close it was to a busy road. It's kind of like a blind date. Most of them won't work out, but if you're lucky, one will and one might be enough!

    Bookmark   December 30, 2013 at 8:33PM
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We wanted to move from the family home to one with an HOA and some maintenance provided. Kids are about finished with schooling, and we were in an older home with detached garage, large trees, and with lots of upkeep.

But we are decades away from retiring.

My in laws had moved the year before to a place that was all retirees, and not a walkable neighborhood. Other than that we liked their floor plan and overall home size a lot.

So I had a list in my phone of new house requirements. Walkable neighborhood, outdoor patio space large enough for at least 10 people, attached garage, main level living, and lock and leave maintenance. Space to get by yourself in the house, and good natural light.

We had looked at some houses that were close to our in law's subdivision, but didn't meet all the requirements. But this gave us an idea of prices and the amount of updating that would be needed if we bought something 20-30 years old.

Some friends got married and moved their combined family to a home a few miles away that was new construction and maintenance provided. This showed us what that would be like and how much that would cost.

So we know what the in law's 20-30 year old home prices were, and the new construction prices.

Then we found the neighborhood we are in. Very close to the in laws. 20-30 year old homes, but a shady beautiful walkable neighborhood.

Our house was a total re-do. Needed new paint, flooring, HVAC, and kitchen updates. But we knew that would still be far less than the new construction area. We never would have looked at it based on the listing pictures unless we had already done this market research and figured out what we wanted. The listing and the home in the condition we purchased were full of clutter and outdated everything. Fortunately we could see beyond that, and knew that it would be worth the additional expense to do the fix ups it needed right away.

So we initially viewed it due to its location, size, price, and layout.

    Bookmark   January 5, 2014 at 5:47PM
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It was, for us, an ideal location. A lakefront home in a subdivision we loved. We first looked at it in 1988 when it was on the market and again in 1994 when we were trying to decide whether to buy bigger or remodel. The home was more than we could afford so we remodeled.

Fast forward 10 years and the wife comes home saying the ### home was for sale. Two weeks later we had the keys.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 1:19PM
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I was moving from another state and sent the realtor a list of my desired features: #1 was childcare within a short commute to my job, #2 was the sort of neighborhood (walkable, with trees and older, smaller homes in excellent condition) and #3 were specific features for the house (sunny, screened porch, basement, # of bedrooms etc). I made 1 trip to look with her and settled on 2 neighborhoods to concentrate on.

I moved in late autumn so there weren't a large number of homes on the market, and I couldn't dilly dally because I would need to enroll the child in school and needed a purchase contract to do this. We looked at several homes, rejected one or two for things like moisture in the basement ; the remainders didn't all meet all my "wishes" as to features but the one I offered on and got has been very comfortable and I am still in it 21 years later.

If I had more time to look I might have found something "perfect" or at least without some of the problems that this one proved to have, but really, no big regrets.

    Bookmark   January 9, 2014 at 4:18PM
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Bought my one and only house 11 years ago. Was renting around the corner and my neighbor told me about it. It was a FSBO. I walked in and three minutes later made my offer and that was that. It's not perfect. It's two bed/one bath, 1050 square feet, and I long for a sunroom or screened in back porch. I need just one more room in the house. However, it was the easiest thing I ever bought. Why? 1) great price, 2) old (love 1920s bungalows) fabulous neighborhood.

    Bookmark   January 18, 2014 at 11:30PM
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I bought in 1996. I had decided on the neighborhood due to location/safety/convenience. My realtor showed me all the townhouses on the market in the neighborhood. While I initally wanted one with a garage, the placement of this house in the neighborhood made the difference -- end unit with larger yard, common area to the side rather than parking lot or street, backyard faces blank end of perpendicular row of townhouses -- as well as the masonry fireplace with raised brick hearth.

    Bookmark   January 19, 2014 at 3:39PM
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Location. We saw the neighborhood and loved it because of large lots with trees but didn't think we could afford to move there. Had agent show us a few houses in a nearby area but then our house came up for sale right behind my agent's house in the original neighborhood we wanted. It was a smaller house in the neighborhood and all original but well maintained, so it was affordable to us. No major remodeling (like room additions) was required, only updating. Turned into a great investment.

    Bookmark   January 20, 2014 at 10:54AM
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I viewed it because nothing had been upgraded or replaced in the 55 years since it had been built, except the water heater and the roof. It was the ugly duckling in a great neighborhood. It did not have layers of misguided improvements so I knew exactly what I would be dealing with. I could make it exactly the way I wanted.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2014 at 11:50AM
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It met most of the must haves- 10 years old or less with a basement and 4 bedrooms, 2.5 baths, affordable and not too far away from our jobs and have preserved space behind us. Saw the listing online- saw that it was for sale by owner (EVEN BETTER) stalked it, toured it, loved it and signed. Not much to it, I didn't care for newly renovated houses- the way I saw it was that the renovation upped the price and if I din't like it I didn't want to pay for it.

    Bookmark   February 6, 2014 at 2:50PM
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I bought my house sight unseen because the county website said it had 4.5 acres a 2000ft house and a 1500ft shop. Went to look at it after I bought it, for $5800 in back taxes.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2014 at 6:30PM
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