Ask Adam Header

This regularly-scheduled sponsored Q&A column is written by Adam Gallegos of Arlington-based real estate firm Arbour Realty, voted one of Arlington Magazine’s Best Realtors of 2013. Please submit follow-up questions in the comments section or via email.

Question: Though I have followed a few different real estate websites for a while now, I have been seriously looking for the last couple of months. I feel like there isn’t anything available that fits my needs or budget. Is it me or the market?

It’s probably a little bit of both. Prices are increasing relatively quickly and there often seems to be a natural tendency to want what is just out of reach. Though it has been a few years, I remember feeling the same way when I was last in the market for a home.

Similar questions come up regardless of the market, but maybe a little more frequently in this one. It’s possible you are relying too heavily on what you saw homes listed for 6 months ago and need to make an adjustment.

There is an exercise I recommend trying.

  1. Create a list of your must have criteria. Be sure to include everything… locations, minimum bedrooms, 2-car garage, etc…
  2. Enter that criteria into an MLS search without a price range. You should include homes currently on the market, under contract and sold within the last 45 days.
  3. Now review the results to make sure the homes include everything that would make you a happy homeowner.

Does the price range of these homes overlap your budget? If not, then it is time to either increase your budget or decide which items you can live without. If you decide to downgrade from a 2-car to a 1-car garage or expand into additional zip codes, try the search again to make sure the revised results are falling within budget. You’ll need to keep making adjustments until your budget matches your list of needs.

Since it sounds like you will be working with a small pool of listings, ask your Realtor to set up the MLS alerts to notify you as soon as they hit the market. You may also ask your Realtor if there is anything they can do to let you know about homes coming on the market before they are listed in the MLS.

Best of luck with your home purchase.

The views and opinions expressed in the column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of


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