How many homes/condos did you go and see before deciding on the home/condo you bought?
June 21, 2006 12:01 PM   Subscribe

How many homes/condos did you go and see before deciding on the home/condo you bought?
posted by chunking express to Home & Garden (54 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
4 - we were moving to the DC suburbs and had 1 weekend to do it in. We'd poked around extensively on before, though. And our realtor was excellent - we knew her thru personal contacts, so we were lucky. I'm happy with the place. I should get back to repainting it, though - part of the reason it was such a good deal was the crazy palm tree mural in the kitchen.
posted by selfmedicating at 12:06 PM on June 21, 2006

I bought a townhome in December 2005 after seeing about 10 properties over the course of a couple months. I would like to have seen more, but this was a cross-country move so I had to be picky during my exploratory trips.
posted by pmbuko at 12:07 PM on June 21, 2006

First-time home buyer here. I walked through about 10 homes before buying the final one.

In hindsight, I learned a few things:
Don't put an offer on the very first home you look at. There are more out there.
Don't put an offer down on a house, just because you're frustrated at not finding "the" house.
Be ready to pounce on a house, if you find one that meets your criteria. It won't be on the market long.
posted by Diddly at 12:07 PM on June 21, 2006


Our realtor believed in shotgunning and we were too polite to say her nay.

Mind you, we're picky, we were renting and could afford to wait for the right one, that is to say, a bargain house in an expensive area. The search went on over two years, but it was definitely worth it.

Why do you ask? If you don't mind my asking.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:10 PM on June 21, 2006

First condo I bought, it was the first one I saw. Actually, the realtor never showed up to let me in. The people renting the unit let me in and I made an offer that day. The second house my husband and I bought, it was the first one we looked at. Third house we bought, it was the fourth one we looked at on the first day we started looking.

Maybe I'm an anomoly. I HATE searching and comparing. I don't have the patience. I went to the first college and graduate school I applied to and all three cars I've owned were the first and only ones I test drove. My wedding dress was also the first one I tried on (but I also tried 3 more after that, to make my mother happy).
posted by SheIsMighty at 12:11 PM on June 21, 2006

First-timer here too. About 10-20. Pretty rural market. Heed Diddly's advice.
posted by ontic at 12:11 PM on June 21, 2006

We looked at about 15 after making an offer on one we didn't get (hindsight: really glad we didn't!).
We found our from a street sign ("for sale", and an arrow up a long drive); the current owner was working in the carport and let us in. We chatted with him for over two hours. Came back, looked again, talked with owner for two more hours. Made a (very low - expected a counter) offer - it was accepted! Lesson: If you can bypass the realtor, it's possible to get a good deal. Don't be afraid to ask questions of the owner.
posted by dbmcd at 12:16 PM on June 21, 2006

It felt like a bazillion.
posted by k8t at 12:18 PM on June 21, 2006

London, purchased in November 2001, over perhaps one month before I built an excel spreadsheet with the details of almost 100 properties, looked at two off that list, made an offer on the second flat that I physically inspected, offer was at a sharp discount to market at the time but given the state of the property was promptly accepted.

Doesn't matter if you get out there and physically inspect property or gather your data via internet ads as I did; you have to know your market.
posted by Mutant at 12:18 PM on June 21, 2006

I believe we saw about twenty or so. Maybe less.

We had an extraordinary realtor who gave us access to local MLS listings. We would search for hours on MLS, looking at photos and scanning entries, noting a few in a given area that were worth going to see.

We'd spend a Saturday afternoon driving, looking into windows. If we stumbled upon an open house, then all the better. Usually, if we had a listing for one house in a neighborhood, there would be others with For Sale signs nearby, so we'd look at those as well.

Afterwards, we'd give the realtor a list of about five or six houses that interested us enough to have her accompany us with her lockbox code. She was very patient and willing to drive most anywhere.

Really, to my mind, finding a great realtor that will let you do the lion's share of the preliminary research (using their MLS data) was key.
posted by grabbingsand at 12:20 PM on June 21, 2006

Response by poster: IndigoJones, because I am looking at places now. I was just curious about how people approach this sort of thing. The first place I went to see is the one I like the most, but there is a part of me that thinks I should keep looking so I have more places to compare the one I like too.
posted by chunking express at 12:23 PM on June 21, 2006

We bought our 1st house in about a week about 7 years ago. I think we drove by 50+ homes with a realtor, and must have walked through twenty or so before putting an offer on one. Part of the point of the exercise was to get a good feeling for the market, without necessarily focusing on only looking at "perfect" matches. We were lucky to have our first offer accepted.

I next time I'm in the market for a house, I'd prefer a much more extended process, maybe a year or more, looking at a few houses every weekend and only buying when we find the perfect house, though I'm not exactly sure at this point what perfect is. Probably some combination of price, size, location and potential.

First time out though, we were ready to put an end to appartment living and didn't have the patience for an extended house search, or for any major fixer-uppers.
posted by Good Brain at 12:23 PM on June 21, 2006

I think instead of numbers of home, a time period is probably more common. I'd say we seriously looked for two months. We scoured ads for probably 6 months and talked about it for two years, but the actual hitting-the-pavement-with-an-agent was around two months. We probably looked at 20-30 houses in that time, both times we looked for a home.
posted by mathowie at 12:24 PM on June 21, 2006

We looked at 50, and probably several hundred online listings.

One thing that helped is that we took a digital camera around and furiously photographed every house we even stepped inside of. It helped in the debriefing at the end of the day when we could compare our own photos to those of the flyers.
posted by mattbucher at 12:25 PM on June 21, 2006

I think we looked at three. We probably should have looked at more, but we found a house we really liked (and still, over a year later, really like) and the real estate market is hot here, so we didn't want someone else to snap it up.
posted by wheat at 12:26 PM on June 21, 2006

Followup: by "looked at" I mean "actually contacted the realtor and walked around inside of." We drove around and looked at about a dozen from the outside w/o a formal tour.
posted by wheat at 12:28 PM on June 21, 2006

Probably only about 10 - we did it in 2 lots spaced about 3 months apart. Discounted the 1st town we looked in, and then on our second search found the right place - It was a speculative build on a back-fill lot right in the center of town and was just finished enough to be viewable when we turned up. Had it all finished about a month later.
posted by Sk4n at 12:31 PM on June 21, 2006

FIrst time condo owner - probably about 25-30 (Seattle)
posted by tristeza at 12:35 PM on June 21, 2006

4 or 5, then we we found one that we were crazy passionate about...
posted by john m at 12:37 PM on June 21, 2006

i looked at 15-20. Five of those I looked at three or four times. Three of them were in the same building (two were the same floor plan, different floors).

i'm not sure what information you want, beyond a survey of how many things people look at before they decide, but i made my decision far more rapidly than i expected to and it was as much an economic choice as an emotional one.

i had started with very wide search criteria to get a list of places to look at. then the first weekend, i looked at a narrow neighborhood subset of that list. from there, i stayed within the narrow criteria, with the intention of expanding the neighborhoods until i found the right thing; it just happened that i found the right thing without having to expand my search.
posted by crush-onastick at 12:40 PM on June 21, 2006

Bofore we started with our agent, probably a good 5 over 3 months, of those 50 I probably read 20 disclosure packets.

With our agent, 6 homes in 3 weeks, 2 offers on seperate places, the first offer on the second home stuck.

We asked how long she usually takes, she had a 3 week average "search" phase for the last 3 years.
posted by iamabot at 12:41 PM on June 21, 2006

!@#! dropped a "0".

Before we started with our agent, probably a good 50 over 3 months, of those 50 I probably read 20 disclosure packets.

posted by iamabot at 12:42 PM on June 21, 2006

Five. I went for the only house that had ceilings higher than seven feet (necessary to accomodate the 7 ft.+ bookcases...).
posted by thomas j wise at 12:42 PM on June 21, 2006

I looked at around 20 (Chicago). Some I just breezed through open houses, some my realtor sent me to, and some were places in my friend's building and other buildings where I just happened to know people.

The place I ended up buying, was the 2nd to last one I looked at. I knew as soon as I walked in that I wanted it. I breezed through the last showing and barely saw it because I couldn't get the previous one out of my head. I like so totally had a schoolgirl crush on it. I made an offer the next morning.
posted by ninjew at 12:44 PM on June 21, 2006

Also, something I should mention in regards to my previous posting. Had I walked through that same place in the beginning of my search, I believe I would have passed it up. I think the key for me was that I had seen so many places I didn't connect with in any way, that when I walked into this one it really felt different. You really have to do some serious looking around, and definitely squeeze in some places you know you won't even like, just to have that experience in your mind. I know when I made the offer, I had no uneasiness about it because I didn't feel like I hadn't looked enough or was missing something.
posted by ninjew at 12:49 PM on June 21, 2006

Which time? The first time, we bought the first house we looked at, but only after we'd looked at a half-dozen others. The next time we moved, we looked a half a dozen places before renting the last one we looked at. The last time we moved, we looked at half a dozen, changed realtors as the one we were with wasn't listening to what we wanted, looked at four more and decided that building was the best way to get anything close to what we wanted.
posted by jlkr at 12:50 PM on June 21, 2006

We went to 5 or 6 open houses every weekend for a couple of months before we bought.
posted by madajb at 12:53 PM on June 21, 2006

Most recently (2002) we looked at 12 or 15, made an offer on one which fell through. At the time, we were 1500 miles away and had to decide quickly, so we took our second-choice house. WIsh we'd been able to look further, but it worked out o.k.

Previously, with the house I sold, I saw it on the Internet in 1998 and immediately fell in love with it. The Realtor had me look at 3 others, but I knew this one was "the one." It was an incredible diamond-in-the-very-rough house. Family,, work, and life changes led us to move back to Texas, but if we'd stayed in San Diego we'd still be there.
posted by Robert Angelo at 12:57 PM on June 21, 2006

First time I bought a house, it was the 6th (or so) that we looked at. We were not very well-informed home buyers, and it was good luck that the house we felt in our guts was right was in fact a good house and good deal. We did all our own looking (we only engaged an agent once we had picked that house out) over a period of a month or so.

Second time, we spent over a year looking and probably looked at over 100 houses. We had much more specific ideas of what we wanted, and the market was much tougher. Ironically, after all that time and trouble, we were ready to put in an offer on the very first house we'd looked at (and over that year+, looked at the same house again two more times), but it had been withdrawn from the market three days before. We lucked into something else shortly after.
posted by adamrice at 1:03 PM on June 21, 2006

One. But it's important to know I am single, had simple requirements (3 bedroom condo, ground floor, high ceilings), the price and interest rate were awesome, and the place was in my hometown of over 20 years, so I knew the area.

I'm now looking for a condo/townhouse/house for my mother. Her motivation is mostly financial, but with home prices still high, it's very difficult to find a place to justify the costs of moving -- the new home would have to have both an awesome floorplan and location, and so far, it's been an either/or thing. Over the past year, we've casually looked at about 100 listings online and walked through 5 or 6 actual units.
posted by Sangre Azul at 1:09 PM on June 21, 2006

I second the digital camera idea. I was amazed at how much the pictures helped when we did our debriefing after the tour. It was just too hard to pay attention to everything, and the pictures often caught things we missed.

Although we looked at about ten million properties online, we purchased the 5th place we saw, in the third (condo) complex we toured.

Of course, we agonized over this decision and felt like we were making a mistake by not touring many more properties. We finally screwed our courage to the sticking post and bought the one we now live in, and I have no regrets about that decision.

Good luck!
posted by Sheppagus at 1:15 PM on June 21, 2006

Probably 50 houses over 6-8 weeks, and months of internet research. When our first real estate agent repeatedly showed us to houses that didn't meet our requirements and pressured us to make an offer during every day of showings, we found a new agent. For the money they make on a sale, a real estate agent really should be helpful and happy to keep showing you what is on the market until you find something you love, or at least really like.

My advice: Don't settle for a house or a real estate agent that doesn't really appeal to you.
posted by McGuillicuddy at 1:18 PM on June 21, 2006

Two, but I tend to buy things in a hurry and wasn't looking for much (condo, two bedroom, cheap). The mortgage rates were also quite low and property wasn't staying on the market very long.
posted by Gary at 1:22 PM on June 21, 2006

Probably around 50 houses and 3 realtors, all buyer's agents. The first realtor came across as slimey, so I dropped him. The second realtor was very pushy and blatantly wanted to get his commission as soon as possible for the least amount of work. Ironically, he would frequently state how great and helpful he was.

The third realtor was familiar with the area. She would tell me unasked if a house was overpriced relative to comps. She didn't steer me away from inexpensive properties.
posted by malp at 1:38 PM on June 21, 2006

Some advice. If a realtor tries to pressure you into making an offer, drop him (or her).
posted by malp at 1:46 PM on June 21, 2006

First time homeowner here. looked at about 15 during weekend open houses, toured about 6 with our realtor, ended up buying the first one she showed us, and still love it nearly 2 years later.

But now I wish I still had an excuse to go to open houses, or even to tour houses. It's really fun to see how other people live, or imagine how they lived, and to behold all their strange DIY construction projects, etc. In the process we toured a couple of foreclosure homes, both of which appeared to have been abandoned hastily by their POs. There were some really creepy stories waiting to be told there.

So I guess what I'm saying is, enjoy it for as long as you can, but a good realtor should probably latch on to what you're looking for pretty quick, which will hasten the process.
posted by M.C. Lo-Carb! at 1:55 PM on June 21, 2006

First time townhome buyer here. Probably looked at 7 or 9. We kept coming back to the one I bought, and seemed to keep comparing all the others we saw to that one. I'm happy so far, its barely been a month. Good luck!
posted by marxchivist at 2:01 PM on June 21, 2006

We bought the first house we looked at. We are quite pleased with our purchase. If you liked the first house you saw and you are reasonably educated about the market, go ahead and make an offer. The only thing I would have done differently was hire a better inspector.
posted by crazycanuck at 2:20 PM on June 21, 2006

The first time, my wife and I looked at somewhere between eight and ten houses. We didn't use a Realtor for any of them. The house we bought was for-sale-by-owner.

The second time, we weren't even looking. Our dream house happened to come on the market at a good price, and we could afford it, so we just jumped at it.
posted by jdroth at 2:29 PM on June 21, 2006

We only looked at three or four but it's a pretty quiet real-estate market here and there were not too many more than that for sale that we could afford.
posted by octothorpe at 2:48 PM on June 21, 2006

First time, we probably looked at 10 or so. We were buying in a very specific area (a condo community) so we just looked at everything available for sale in that community.

Second time, more like 50. We had to decide on an area to live in first (that involved driving around and looking at all the open houses in those areas one weekend). Once we had narrowed it down to one area, we got a realtor (friend's recommendation, she was awesome) and looked through all the available stock in our price range. It took us about 3 months of serious looking to find "the one". What Diddly says is wise. Its easy to get frustrated and consider putting an offer in on a house that's OK, but not right. Fortunately my partner and the realtor are a lot more patient than me :)
posted by Joh at 3:25 PM on June 21, 2006

About 20. Suburbs, 10 min from downtown Portland. Very tight market in our starter price range. 2 houses were snatched out from under us! But we LOVE our house, so I'm glad it turned out this way.
posted by peep at 4:04 PM on June 21, 2006

We bought the first one we saw. We were pre-approved for our mortgage, and our banker told us of another client who was selling a place in our price-range. Yadda yadda yadda, we saw the place and fell in love with the layout, decor, location and the building.

We never saw the inside of another prospective location. 1 year later, we still love the place and I think we made the right decision, no matter how impulsively we made it.
posted by chudmonkey at 5:22 PM on June 21, 2006

Fewer than ten. We were buying at a time of great stress, which is a Bad Idea... but we're happy with what we got.
posted by The corpse in the library at 5:35 PM on June 21, 2006

6 lofts. After the first disastrous two, I told my real estate agent to not show me anywhere that had carpet. The next one she showed me was perfect. But I couldn't believe that it could really be this easy. So she showed me three others the following weekend and I realized that the previous one really was perfect. So 6 condos over two weeks - a ridiculously simple, brief process.
posted by meerkatty at 5:40 PM on June 21, 2006

Bought a condominium two years ago. It was my first housing purchase.

I looked at three:

1st - there was not even anything to look at, actually -- the community was pre-construction and I only had floor plans to look at. It's a good thing I didn't stop there; the builder broke ground almost a full 18 months past schedule.

2nd - looked at a place that didn't wow me at all.

3rd - the place I ended up buying; it was a condo conversion.

It would seem like I didn't look at much, but I had looked extensively at properties listed on MLS and very few met my criteria. In the area that I live the only housing for purchase in my price range was condos, so I was able to eliminate numerous properties right off the bat because they didn't meet my criteria (buildings too old, fees too high, were in golf communities or incorporated into larger umbrella HOA's with yet more fees). I am glad I bought when I did because even 6 months later the same lodgings would have been far too pricey for me.
posted by brain cloud at 5:40 PM on June 21, 2006

Whoops, scratch that, I actually saw 4 -- one set of very unimpressive little town-houses with doors in odd/inconvenient places and overpriced upgrades. So unmemorable, in fact, that I totally forgot about it when making my list.
posted by brain cloud at 5:50 PM on June 21, 2006

Both home purchases we the first house we looked at. We were and are extremely happy with the choice. One we purchased in NY while living in SF and flew in for 24 hrs. Mrs. Gunn only saw a very poorly made video of it.

I think that there will always be a house that has features you don't want or missing ones. We had a few criteria that were must haves or it was a no go. Just because it is the first house does not mean it isn't the right house. Think long, think wrong. I also credit the agent both times for listening to our needs and desires and showing the right house. Also, the time pressure we were under made us not willing to nitpick and go looking every weekend.

Know the market, have your "musts" and "no f*&king ways" and pull the trigger.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:50 PM on June 21, 2006

We walked through about 30 houses over the course of 2 months, taking a second tour of about 4 of those. Strangely enough, we ended up buying the very first house we looked at - it was overpriced when we first looked at it, but after the sellers reduced their asking price to something a little more realistic, we made an offer.
posted by deadmessenger at 9:03 PM on June 21, 2006

posted by battlecj at 6:03 AM on June 22, 2006

Response by poster: Just want to say thanks for all the comments. This threads been more interesting than I thought it would be.
posted by chunking express at 7:02 AM on June 22, 2006

Long Island, NY. First time buyer here. I looked for about 3 months with three realtors. Along with an almost daily online search at Also, had my Dad search that site as well. My guess is I walked through between 50 and 100 houses ("looked at" a few hundred online) before buying. And I'm very happy with what I settled on.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:03 AM on June 22, 2006

The first place I went to see is the one I like the most, but there is a part of me that thinks I should keep looking so I have more places to compare the one I like too.

When the right one comes along-

Mind you, we bid on three places that we liked, mourned the loss briefly and ultimately were glad we missed. Even so, even it appears to be perfect, steel yourself, be ready to walk away if there's something that the house didn't tell you about itself on the first date. Don't let love blind you to the real cost of re-doing that seemingly small flaw, or the "we can live with it" imperfection. Absolutely, do the comps- don't know about Toronto, but on east coast USA a lot of folks are still overpricing even in a weakening market. There may yet be bargains in houses you like as much or better.

Finally, look at it with the eye of seller, because one day you probably will be, and if in a bad market, you want your place to stand out.

Best of luck. I hate house hunting.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:09 AM on June 22, 2006

I just bought a house 2 weeks ago. About the 50th house I looked at, and the 5th one with an offer on it.

As an aside, a realtor showed me the first 49 houses and then I ended up buying privately. Second time this has happened to me (or to my realtor I should say). Thankfully they were different realtors.

IndigoJones has good advice.
If you are not 100% in love with the house, think hard whether you really want it. I learned that if a house wasn't screaming "BUY ME", I walked away. There were a handful of houses that I thought I must have, went back for a second look and was wondering how I was so deceived on the first visit. Look at the house twice if possible.

I am extremely thankful my first 4 offers were not accepted now that I found the house I was looking for. In hindsight, I can't believe I offered anything at all on two of the houses.

Good luck. Don't settle for something that's only good enough.
posted by gfroese at 10:40 AM on June 22, 2006

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