Can You Find Time for a Home Search When You Have to Work? Absolutely!
Now that you’re gainfully employed, buying a house is at the top of your list of things to do... just as soon as you have time.
You’ve saved for a down payment, and you’ve been paying all those bills, so your credit score is excellent. You’ve even narrowed your search down to a few different neighborhoods.
But you’ll need to keep that job to pay your mortgage, and that means being at work, not skipping out in the afternoon to drive around town looking for your dream house.
But we have good news: real estate agents are used to working when other people aren’t. After all, the best client has a steady source of income, right? Most agents are more than happy to show you houses during your lunch break, on weekends, or after you finish work. One first-time buyer got a call from her agent at 7 AM one morning!
It had just been entered into MLS, and the listing agent had made a private notation for other agents that the home had a lockbox and that the family would be out of town that day.
The first time buyer’s agent knew this home was a steal, which is one of the reasons he woke up regularly at 5 AM to see what was new.
His buyer put in an offer by 8:30 AM, it was accepted by 9, and several more offers came in before the end of the day. Early bird gets the worm, as they say! A dedicated real estate agent will work with your schedule. (It should be noted, however, that most sellers aren’t interested in showing their homes at 7 AM!)
Keep these easy strategies for house hunting in mind as you start the search process.
Be disciplined in your home search, but don't cut out from work early!
But it can also be helpful, and convenient, to look at several houses in one day, comparing the features in each home with a fresh memory. Saturdays and Sundays are fine times to look at houses, and most agents are glad to accommodate weekend buyers. You may even run into a few open houses.
If you have comp time at work, now is the time to use it. You might even want to consider taking a couple of vacation days. After all, once you move into your home, you probably won’t want to go out of town for a while. Just don’t call in sick to look at houses, because getting fired isn’t what you want to happen, and most bosses aren’t crazy about a fibber.
Research for homes online
You’ll also want to spend some time looking at real estate sites like Zillow, Trulia, Redfin, and Realtor.com. They can help you get a feel for what kinds of homes are available in your area, and you may be able to eliminate some places without looking at them.
Just remember, the house that you saw online might be totally different from the one you'll see in person. It may help to meet with your Realtor over lunch with a laptop or tablet to browse homes. That way, the agent get an idea of what you like and can let you know additional details about the houses he or she may have already seen.
Find the right real estate agent
When you're looking for an agent, ask about scheduling. Ask the agent, of course, but ask your friends, family, and co-workers, too. If they found an agent who was happy to do after work showings and meetings, that's a good sign. Let your agent know the best way to communicate with you, whether it's by email or phone, and if there are certain hours you just can't talk. Realtors are often early adopters of new technology, and the good ones are easy to reach. Let them know how to do the best job for you, and they'll probably appreciate the communication and jump at the chance.
However you find the time, make sure you give yourself enough time. Explore your options, figure out what you like, don’t like, and can’t live without. You’ll be in your new home -- and still employed -- before you know it!