When it comes to setting goals, being specific is key to finding success. If you’ve decided that now is the time to jump into the real estate market, it can pay great dividends to identify and understand your goals before making that leap.
Identifying Your Goals
Your ultimate goal may be simply to buy or sell a house – but much more comes into play and more information is needed when starting to move toward the direction of achieving your real estate goal. When trying to better understand a situation, it can be beneficial to start with the Five W’s: Who, Why, What, When, and Where. Knowing the answers to these questions will help your real estate agent guide you to success.
Who are you?
To better understand your needs, it is helpful for your agent to know more about you, your family and your situation. They will need to know how many people are in your family, what your budget is, and what your timeline may be. This will help them come up with a plan that is realistic to the current market while still meeting your objectives.
Why are you interested in making a move?
When it comes to real estate, the answer, or answers to “Why” are significant. The answers are going to impact many of your other questions. Why is NOW the time you’ve decided to look at real estate? Are you simply looking to see what your options might be six months down the road or is it imperative to make a change sooner? Perhaps you want to begin searching for that dream home, and want to put out your feelers so you can hopefully find it when it comes up on the market?
Maybe your needs are more immediate. If you have a child due in a few months, you may not have a large window to find a place with more space. Ultimately, the “Why” is key to finding out where your real estate journey is starting and where it needs to go before you break down the details of what you’re looking for.
What are you looking for?
When it comes to buying or selling (and some cases, you’ll be doing both), your realtor needs to know exactly what you’re trying to accomplish. If you “need more space”, you’ll need to establish just how much “space” you need and what type of “space” want. Will you be looking for an extra bedroom for a newborn, or home office space? Perhaps you are looking for a larger backyard for the dogs or an in-law suite for aging parents. The same applies for someone looking to downsize: how little space are you looking for? Maybe you are looking for a property where you can age in place. Setting minimums and maximums for various needs in terms of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, and acreage will help identify what properties will or won’t fit your goals.
If you are selling a home as you are looking to buy another, your agent will need to know if buying a property is contingent on the sale of your existing property. Again, this information comes into play while strategizing to meet your goals. Getting a home ready to sell can take time. Your realtor can advise you as to which projects need to be completed before you can bring the home to market or if any recent renovations may help your home stand out from the competition. Some renovations increase the value of a home while some add no value at all when it comes to Return on Investment – your agent can let you know what today’s buyers are looking for and help you determine where your efforts should be directed in maximizing your profits.
When are you looking to buy or sell?
Real estate is a business built on time. When you’re selling a home, time on the market can impact everything from buyer interest to pricing. If you’re buying, it’s good to know if you’re going to need somewhere to call home in two weeks, or two months. If your timeline requires tight deadlines, it’s important to know these upfront so your agent can help you find the right home to suit not only your needs but your timeline as well.
Where are you looking to buy or sell?
For buyers, this is a big question. Do you have a specific area in mind where you’d like to purchase your next property, or are you more open to options? Your agent will be cross referencing “what” (you’re looking for) with the “where”, alongside your budget, to help identify options that could work for you.
While most real estate agents typically operate in a specific geographic area, they do have connections that can help them look beyond their usual scope: even if that means pointing you in the direction of a colleague out of state, or across country, or overseas, they will be able to make the connection with an agent who will be more helpful to your real estate journey.
When you speak to your real estate agent, the conversation may begin with this common question: What are your real estate goals. Focusing on the practical realities of your situation: the who, what, when, where, and why will give you a clearer picture of your goals. By knowing the answers to these questions upfront, you and your agent can map out a successful path toward reaching your specific goals.