When buying a home there are many more than 3 questions to ask, but this is a smart place to start because you can’t change them – at least not affordably. Every time you walk into a showing, start with these three questions and you’ll save yourself a lot of time – just remember the three L’s. Location, Lot, and Layout.
Question 1: Location – Do I like the location of this house on this street and in this community?
Maybe this seems like a no-brainer to you, but many of our clients have been so enamored by a beautiful kitchen that they’ve forgotten about the six-lane busy street just 10 feet out the back door. Before your agent even opens the lockbox, be sure to ask yourself, “Is this where I want to live? Are we close to the locations I want (grocery, school, park, bike path, etc.)? Does this house encourage or discourage my lifestyle? And don’t forget the location on the street… Is the house on the corner of a fairly busy neighborhood intersection or in a quiet cul-de-sac? Do you back to an alley or to a golf course? I’m not suggesting that you choose one over the other; I’m recommending you ask yourself the question. We sold a home to a young family a couple years ago that was literally on the side of a steep, rocky mountain. That’s not what I would’ve chosen, but they’re rock climbers and I’m not. Just know that you can’t (realistically) change the location of the house later. Which leads me to question number two.
Question 2: Lot – Does this lot fit my needs and desires?
If the location is a good fit for you, the next thing to ask is about the land and the lot. Is it on a hill? Where does rain/snow drainage go? It it flat for your kids’ daily soccer practicing or is it on a hillside for your kids’ sledding? Where would you put the huge garden you’ve always wanted? Here in the Denver area, we always ask about which way the driveway runs. If the house faces north, you’ll shovel about twice as much as your neighbors across the street will because your house casts a shadow on your driveway and theirs is exposed to the sun. This question about the lot isn’t too complicated, just be sure to ask it because you’ll live to regret it if you don’t.
Question 3: Layout – Do I like the floor plan?
In my experience, this is the least overlooked of the 3 L’s, but I still want to highlight a few things to consider. Before going house hunting, I recommend taking pictures and basic measurements of the rooms in your current house. Stand in the doorway to each bedroom and entrance to each shared space and snap a picture with your phone. Take that with you and when you get interested in a home, stand in similar spaces of the new home and pull up those same pictures on your phone… Does your furniture probably fit? Where would you put your giant sectional couch? Are you pleased with the size of the spaces in which you will be entertaining? Do you want your master bedroom on the same floor and next door to the kids’ rooms or would you rather it be on a different floor? And last but absolutely not least, does this house have enough storage? I’ve learned you can never have too much storage.
Half Question: Am I working with a recently successful agent or team?
The final question you might want to ask (tongue firmly in cheek there) is, “Am I working with an experienced, great agent or team?” Don’t be afraid to ask your agent how many other buyers they’ve helped close in the last 12 months. Many Realtors will tell you they’ve done this for a millennia, but I don’t care about that as much as I care about their recent history, because I want an agent with the current knowledge of the market and the skills to help me win the deal in a competitive buyer environment. For instance, do they know how to do an escalation clause? What’s the benefit to doubling the earnest money? Have they thought about giving a personal gift to the seller at the time of presenting your offer? These tricks and many others help our clients get the home they want much quicker than most other agents. While other agents are still showing their buyers more houses, our clients are moving in.
If you are considering buying a home in the Denver area, contact us today and find out if we have availability to take you on as a client. We are happy to assist you if we can.