The Top 5 Questions to Ask Before Starting Your Home Search


The time has come….you’ve decided to embark on a search to find your dream home. But before you reach for the phone to call your real estate agent to start seeing properties, here are some important questions to ask yourself first so that you can better understand your priorities and the consequences therein as well as optimize your home buying search:

  1. Do you need to sell before you buy? This addresses the financing component and is probably the most important question that you need to ask yourself - and your lender - and figure out prior to your home buying search. If the answer is “yes,” call your real estate agent pronto to list your house before passing go. And then once your house is solidly under agreement or sold, you can begin seriously looking at potential dream homes.

  2. Are you willing to do work to a house? In other words, is your new home’s condition important to you? Are you looking for a home that is move right in, a fixer-uper or somewhere in between? If it’s the former, be prepared for your potential dream house to sell quickly perhaps in a bidding war and possibly over the asking price (which is the perfect segue into question 3 below). If you are willing to do updating, you often don’t have to act as quickly, and you may even get a better deal.

  3. Will you pay more for the house you love? To paraphrase, how much price flexibility do you have? As mentioned above, a bidding war often happens with properties that are in beautiful condition among other things, i.e. priced to sell, in a great location, etc. If you find yourself in a bidding war for your dream house, will you do whatever you need to do to get it, which usually means paying more than you might like to? If the answer is no, you’ll likely have to shift your focus to properties that will be less appealing to the masses and less likely to result in a competitive buying situation.

  4. Can you accept a compromised street or location? For example, would you buy a house on a busy road or close to a noisy thoroughfare? Or do you only want to live on a quiet street in an A+ neighborhood? The answer to this question will also impact your home search. If you only want a quiet, highly desirable location, then you could be competing with many other buyers for your dream house, which then can force up the price of the property. If a busy street, noise issues or a compromised location are ok, you may be able to find a bit of a better deal.

  5. What is your ideal timeline and closing date? Do you need to buy quickly or can you wait to buy? If you need to buy quickly, you might have to make more compromises - or even rent - if the inventory at the time isn’t appealing to you. But if you have time on your side, you can wait for that just right house for you - keeping in mind that no house is ever 100% perfect.

While there are millions of questions you can ask yourself to help you focus and streamline your home buying search, the questions above hit on the major categories that will come up again and again during your search. Once you understand your financing capabilities, price flexibility and timeline as well as your preference for you new home’s condition and location, you’ll be able to better understand what you want and to more quickly and effectively find the right home for you and your family.

What are your thoughts on this subject? Did you ask yourself these and other questions when you were starting your home buying search? What were the most important and insightful questions you pondered at the start of your home search? I can’t wait to hear….

For more information on this or about the real estate market in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland and the surrounding towns or if you are considering selling your home, please contact me, Lisa Curlett (, 781-267-2844 or, to answer any questions or for a complimentary home appraisal.