Starting Your Property Search

Searching for Homes more efficiently, how the experienced buyers do it.
(Editor's Note: This also applies to other areas and communities I serve.)

What are some of the key factors that separate sophisticated Corona home buyers from first-time shoppers? The answer lies in what experience has taught the veterans – and the details could spell the difference between an efficient, rewarding property search and the opposite. 

It’s an established fact that well over 70% of  Corona home buyers who begin a serious property search December will almost certainly begin that property search online. But one secret to their being able to come up with a rewarding home-buying bargain starts before even their internet property search begins - before they set eyes on the first listing.

Veteran homeowners know to start with the most basic criterion; nailing down not how much house they can afford, but how much house they should afford.

When developing your property search budget range, it can be helpful to meet with an accountant - especially if you are a first-time home buyer. The hidden costs of owning a home include quite a few that are not immediately obvious, but that are nonetheless every bit as real as the mortgage payment. Property taxes are obvious, but less so are repair costs, water and garbage bills (eye-openers for those accustomed to renting apartments!), homeowner's insurance, flood or other indicated property insurance, even mortgage insurance. And don't forget to include HOA costs for candidates that are subject to Homeowners Association rules, or closing costs for your loan (usually at least another 1%) as well as cash for inspections, etc. Your mortgage broker will be happy to walk you through all of these costs, but experienced buyers never forget that mortgage brokers are engaged in selling you a product (which is another reason why an outside accountant might be a wise source of advice).

After you have your budget nailed down it will be time to start your property search in earnest. You should target your Corona search to include properties at least 10% - 20% higher than your budget. And throughout your search, continue to keep a close watch on the market. 

Should you also take a look at homes listed 40% higher than what you can afford? Experienced buyers seldom do. They conserve their energy and focus in directions most likely to yield real results – which don't include hoping they stumble upon one-in-a-million basement bargains. They target properties that fit their goals and their pocketbooks. That level of discipline has the side benefit of signaling to their real estate professionals and the Corona sellers that they are dealing with individuals who deserve to be treated as very serious prospects.

As part of your search, make a point of visiting Open Houses in each of the neighborhoods you've targeted in your property canvass. You can always ask me or your local agent about pulling Comps for these open houses (the “comparables” in the surrounding Corona that are similar in size and neighborhood) and sales trends. This should help narrow your property search, for if the Corona homes are still selling at 20% above your budget, then it's more likely that the neighborhood will remain too little pricey for too long. Veteran home shoppers are also experienced home sellers, and they know how to factor in the direction of this market when judging where to concentrate effort. If homes have started to sell for 15% below asking price, they know it may be the perfect neighborhood to target that property search.

For more on other ways to search efficiently and to start your Search Today, make sure to visit, your source for Corona Homes for Sale.


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