As Realtors, we often hear buyers say that they just aren't seeing anything they like or that none of the current homes for sale fit their needs. While this could ultimately be true, we have recently come across some things while performing searches for clients that could be limiting the homes that buyers are seeing, even if some meet their criteria!
Information on Listings gets entered into a regional MLS by agents with numerous pages of required and optional selections that are specific to each property. While some of the required information is straight forward such as house #, square footage, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc. some of the information is optional and agents can put in as much or as little as preferred. All of this information becomes important when other agents begin to search for homes.
While most home searches are generally based on Price Range, Location and Size, some preferences that are 'deal breakers' (ex. fully fenced yards for pets or a downstairs Master Suite) won't automatically show up unless your Realtor is diving a little deeper into the search criteria.
An example we have heard a lot lately is that buyers are looking for homes with a garage and coming up short in certain price ranges. While it's true that "# of garage spaces" are required to enter your listing in MLS, the searching aspect of garages gets a little tricky.
When an agent runs a garage search, they are faced with 3 options:
1. Attached Garage Spaces
2. Detached Garage Spaces
3. Total # of Garage Spaces
Let's just say your agent knows you want a garage so they click option number 1 (attached garage spaces) and come up with several listings. That's great news, BUT they've just eliminated every home in your search that still has a garage, but may be detached from the home. Selecting the Total # of Garages may be a better option so that every home with a garage (attached or detached) shows up in their search results.
Making sure that you consider these things when you tell your Agent what to search for helps us to get you the best results and home matches!
Another example of something that can affect your initial searches is that being in a Coastal area, you will sometimes see homes that say water front or water view. We want to remind you that this doesn't automatically mean Ocean or Sound view. There are several marshes, creeks and ponds that are not navigable by boat, so this can be a bit deceiving.
The listing may in fact have a water view, but a water view of the pond or creek is different from looking out your window to see the ocean or a dock with deep water access. Most Realtors know the area well enough to decipher the water access on properties, but if you have boating needs or water access as a "must have" item on your search, be sure to be clear so that your agent can specify the Water Features option to make sure you're getting exactly what you want!
Our searches can be very specific which is a great asset to you as a client. If you're doing your search online you may end up missing out on some great homes because you don't have access to search some of the details as efficiently through online sites.
We highly recommend browsing homes on your own, but being very specific when it comes to your needs when an agent is performing your home search, so that you optimize our ability to get the maximum number of homes in front of you!