The House Hunt: How Many Homes Should I See?

by : Eddy Kicker

So, you are beginning the hunt for a new home, and you ask yourself the question that most buyers ask, "How many homes should I see?" There are different theories on this. They range from the golden rule claim that you MUST see many properties to a mild suggestion of staying within a 5-20 house range. The truth is, there is no set-in-stone answer to this question. The good news is, there is much you can do to narrow down your search and help you find the home looking for, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Here is an estimated break-down on what happens for most buyers: 43% will look at 2-10 homes before purchasing, 27% will check-out more than 20 properties, 22% will see 11-20 homes, while 8% may fall in love and purchase the first home they see. But, these are statistics, and at the end of the day who knows where you will fit into these. The key is to find a realtor whom you trust and who knows the market you are bidding in. Next you should clearly share with them what you are looking for. And, no, there is nothing wrong with purchasing one of the first homes you see- so long as you know it is what you want.

Some questions to clarify with yourself and your realtor before starting your house hunt:

- What are your central objectives for purchasing? Is this going to be your dream home, or somewhere you envision staying for only a few years? Is this a family home or an investment property?

- What are the most important elements you are looking for in your new home? Is it the neighborhood or perhaps the size of the house? Is it important that there are good schools near-by? Prioritize these and other features in order of importance.

- If you are buying as a couple, do you both have the same vision of what you are looking for? Deciding up front what you want, collectively, can greatly help simplify and clarify your search down the line.

- Have you finalized your financing? Do you have pre-approval for your mortgage and do you know what price you are comfortable with within your pre-approved range?

Another question to ask yourself is, "Am I being realistic with my parameters?" Buyers can spend forever trying to find a "great deal" on a house. They tend to think that the only way they'll get what they want is at the expense of someone else- in this case the seller. But, in real estate, a win/win situation is what makes for a great deal. When good negotiations are made, both buyer and seller are pleased with the final deal. Remember this, as you define your search parameters. Finding a home that is 20% below market value may take you forever- if never. But, knowing what you are looking for will lead you towards a quicker and easier search for your home.