Tuesday, September 11, 2012

What I'm using for house shopping

Since I haven't yet moved (and don't get me started on the process of packing...), I'm doing some long-distance online house shopping, mostly to get a feel for the market*.

I've got three different apps loaded on my iPod touch: redfin, realtor.com, and zillow. I'm using the favorites feature in both redfin and realtor.com, which helps me keep track of different houses. I also like that I can tell it to NOT show certain houses, so I'm not revisiting listings for houses I've discounted (because they need too much work, usually).

Once I've found a house I'm curious about, I use Google maps to zoom in closely to check out the neighborhood, yards, and surrounding houses. Then I use street view to "walk" up and down the street a little (and as a bonus, I think I found a sour cherry tree near one house! I'm definitely planning to do some walkbys in the spring/early summer to see about harvesting some cherries). Anyway, cruising through the neighborhoods is kind of fun and gives me a small feel for the area.

Finally, I use walkscore.com to assess the general area. I currently live in an apartment that gets a 91 (walker's paradise) and I really love that I can spend an indefinite period of time in my 'hood without having to drive. Right now I can walk to the grocery store and library, and there are at least 20 restaurants and four coffee shops nearby - and a yarn store, post office, and movie theater! I can't hope to afford to buy something in such a great neighborhood in Portland, but I DO want to have at least a couple coffee shops and restaurants nearby, and would prefer to have a grocery store within a half-mile if possible.

A personal factor is that I have three friends who live quite near each other in one part of town: two houses within a block of each other, and a third person less than a half-mile from the first two. I currently live walking distance from four friends and would like to have something like that in my new life too. I really do want it all!

So, my criteria are: price, location, and condition - like every other buyer in the world, I know!

* Oh, fine, I'm not really "getting a feel for the market" I'm totally torturing myself by stalking certain houses...

1 comment:

  1. Walk Scores are interesting... it gives our neighborhood a 69, and sure, we have some amenities, but we've got crazy hills that the casual walker would balk at. Regardless, fascinating. :)