You know what you want, basically, right?
So, sifting through 1300 listings in Thurston County to find the one you want to buy is the issue. Real estate “search” web sites allow you to set criteria pulling from the local MLS. Here’s how to narrow the field so the best buys bubble up to the top.
Unless you have cash, consult with a lender to pinpoint what you can afford to spend. I recommend using a local lender or loan officer who comes highly recommended by someone you know. You won’t get the best price OR service from a mortgage mill.
Choose the place(s) you like, and expand out as far as you are willing to commute. Neighborhoods have their own personalities, just like the folks who live there.
Keep your options open. Maybe you want three bedrooms but 2 bedrooms and a den will do. Bathrooms: How many full baths do you need? Consider whether a 3/4 bath works just as well if you prefer a walk-in shower anyway. Covered parking: How many cars do you need to park inside a garage or carport?
SQUARE FOOTAGE and LOT SIZE
What is the smallest space you can imagine living in? What is the most space you see yourself keeping up? There’s your range.
For your first search, you’ll leave the price open (NO minimum or maximum) and see what the price range for the other criteria brings up. Say you are looking for a 3 bedroom, 2 bath in Olympia, Lacey, or Tumwater. The price range might be $135,000 to $500,000 for that criteria set. The bottom 20% of that range is where your best buys will be found. Set your price range 30% below the median, in this case you’re looking at $135,000-$175,000.
Your first search took you from 1300 listings down to 150, now you can add filters until you get a manageable number of homes coming up. Look through the listing photos and pick out 5 of the best-looking homes. These are your best buys. EASY!