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Compare and Contrast

Before you rush into an offer you can't refuse, take several hours to compare the properties you've seen against market conditions, comparable properties, your priority list and your listing notes. These are the building blocks of your buying decision and, later, your offer.

1. Market conditions
Which homes on your list are in buyer's markets, seller's markets or stable markets? Home prices always reflect market dynamics; for example, a high-demand seller's market usually commands higher prices.

2. Comparable properties
How do the homes that interest you stack up against other homes in the area? Your real estate broker Liz Sidorowicz can prepare a comparative market analysis (CMA) for you. A CMA examines similar area homes that have sold in the past six months or are currently for sale, and compares their prices and other attributes.

3. Priorities
Which homes best match the qualities you want? Rank your priorities in order of importance so you can weigh the tradeoffs when you make your decision.

4. Listing notes
Reread the notes you took while visiting each home and look for qualities that match your priorities. Think hard about inconsistencies that matter. Some tradeoffs will be unavoidable.

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