Fast internet and indoor utilities
My buyers tend to value high-speed internet access as much as they do running water. A lot of them are better at searching for homes that I am, and that’s just fine with me – I don’t want to spend my time searching the MLS, craigslist, etc. – I want to learn what tools my clients are using, and most importantly, what tools they should be using, show them the tools and work to represent them as best I can.
Here’s a thought – if your buyers are anything like mine, ask them how they search for homes. You might be surprised. Here is one of my client’s responses to my request. Clearly it’s a response localized for my market, but it’s one from which anyone seeking insight to buyer’s minds and processes can glean useful information.
1. Your IDX site- Browse the map for affordable homes in places I want to live. Or, check the local MLS for new listings and then look on IDX to see if there is more information there.
2. Look up found home on City Assessment website to find:
a. Tax Assessment price b. Who owns it? Does the owner live there? This often leads to another search on the City Assessment website for the owner’s name to see how many properties the owner has. Do the owners seem to be in good financial shape or have they made a lot of bad decisions (i.e. may need to get rid of the property to stay above water)? c. Check for any inconsistencies in square ft, room numbers, etc between MLS listing and tax assessment. d. Look at picture to see how different the home looked a few years back (pics usually taken in 2002 or 2003). e. Study transfer information to see when house was last sold, what it sold for, when it may have had work done, etc.
3. Use Google Maps to see what surrounds the house. Is the street tree-y? Industrial? How far is the nearest park? How far to downtown, UVA, etc?
4. Google the street address + Charlottesville to get more information about the neighborhood. For example: Grove St. plus Charlottesville clued me into the Grove Square development (which I was unaware of because I’m new to C’ville).
5. Google the complete address of the house to see if anyone has written anything about the house. Search the address of the house on Real C’ville Bubble blog to see if people have been blogging/laughing about the home’s asking price.
6. Lastly, physically drive or walk by the house the old-fashioned way.