Getting Serious About Buying a House

I am often asked, "How long does it take to find and buy a house?" And my answer is always, "That entirely depends on the client."

What do I mean by this? Well, I find that a client who really needs or wants to buy a house does so fairly quickly. The underlying theme is their motivation.

For example, I had clients who flew out on a Thursday evening from Boston and flew back on Sunday evening in contract. Motivation was the driving force, not urgency. You see, they were prepared to live in corporate housing. Then they fell in love with a house that had just gone into contract, even though it would have been considered "too small for their needs". The house just so happened to go back on market, they bought it, and they are thrilled with the home, three years later.

I have clients who were moving south for peninsula schools after their son had, once again, lost the lottery for the SF school of their preference. We spent a couple of weeks together, then we found, negotiated and purchased their home. They sold the SF home after they had relocated.

Then there was the couple that was not entirely sure of what they wanted. He wanted country and land, she wanted walkable to town and smallish.  Off and on we looked, and they had to continually update their loan. One day, I received a call: they had found the perfect house the day before! Their motivation? Their landlord had raised the rent one more time, and they decided that they could no longer utilize the storage room that they had used for years. Their motivation to move increased.

If you really want to buy a home, ask yourself these questions:

1. Are all your financials in order? Are you pre-approved, with current interest rates?

2. Do you know what you want enough to recognize it when you find it? (By the way, the question is not 'what is your dream house'. There is no such thing as the perfect home.)

3. Could you close an escrow and move within the next 30 days? (Is vacation coming, are you in the midst of deadline at work? Are you being distracted by some other aspect of your life requiring your attention now?)

I have seen it again and again. When the buyer is ready, really ready, a magical thing happens: the home appears!

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