Maria Sapio, Real Estate Agent- Carlisle, PA. (Keller Williams of Central PA)

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Carol Wilson
Your $imple Home - Toronto, ON

Most of it has been said, so here's what I'd add to the good points of others:

1. As part of the assessment (on which you make notes), hang out at each house (not in it, but around it) and say hi to a neighbour who comes out, chat about the "nice, quiet, friendly street" and see what sort of reaction you get.  I once went to view a house that interested me, and the owners only wanted to show on Sundays. House was bought and then I learned that the gas station on the corner had a bell clanging every time a car pulled in for gas...closed on Sundays. 

2. Google the street, and see if newsworthy items appear in the first 2-3 pages.  (Of course, it doesn't promise anything either way, but there may be value in having knowledge of the past.)

3. Pretend you (new homeowner) are seriously going to paint every inch of the house personally.  Walk around the home with the eyes of one doing upkeep, not buyer.  Does that change anything?  Make notes!

 4. If they did a whole list of pros and cons and one house comes out the clear winner but buyer is still acting like more investigation is needed, consider the possibility that buyer has actually chosen the house they "shouldn't" and is trying to find justification for it.

Aug 25, 2016 01:51 PM
Susan Emo
Sotheby's International Realty Canada - Brokerage - Kingston, ON
Kingston and the 1000 Islands Area

I've found that when it comes down to 2 homes, usually the energy costs and running expenses make all the difference.  People often consider can they afford to buy the home but often forget to ask can they afford to live in it!

Aug 25, 2016 08:15 AM
Jennifer Mackay
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Your Bay County Florida Realtor 850.774.6582

I have them make a list of their wants/needs and the pros/cons for each - they can pretty much make up their mind half way through the list

Aug 26, 2016 12:15 AM
Sandra Steele
Wise Choice Properties, Sedona/Verde Valley Branch - Cottonwood, AZ
Integrity, Knowledge - 37 Years of Experience!!!

Point out the pros and cons of both properties (according to your agency) and be sure that it is their choice (not yours). 

Aug 25, 2016 10:06 AM
Thomas J. Nelson, REALTOR ® e-Pro CRS RCS-D Vets
Big Block Realty 858.232.8722 - La Jolla, CA
& Host of Postcards From Success Podcast

Pros & Cons comparison like Richie Alan Naggar said, plus operating costs, school districts, crime reports.

I'd also go back to both (back to back) and revisit both homes with no time crunch.

Aug 25, 2016 09:05 AM
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Tell them to imagine living in both houses and see themselves walking around, using the appliances, entertaining in back, and then what feels the best to you?

Aug 25, 2016 08:42 AM
Richie Alan Naggar
people first...then business Ran Right Realty - Riverside, CA
agent & author

Making a list of pros & cons of the inside and then outside may help.

Aug 25, 2016 07:18 AM
Maria Sapio
Keller Williams of Central PA - Carlisle, PA
Real Estate Agent- Carlisle, PA.

Thank you all for your input, advice, and morsels of wisdom that you have shared with me...
With Appreciation,

Aug 26, 2016 01:18 AM
Kathleen Daniels, Probate & Trust Specialist
KD Realty - 408.972.1822 - San Jose, CA
Probate Real Estate

Lots of great responses here.  When this happens (I am dealing with it now) it generally is more an issue of price.  Both homes are equally nice and meet the needs. 

Aug 26, 2016 12:31 AM
Dennis Swartz
Full Circle Property Management - Columbus, OH
MBA, GRI...experience counts!

I make a T chart and we list benefits of each then compare.

Aug 25, 2016 07:42 PM
Paul S. Henderson, REALTOR®, CRS
Fathom Realty Washington LLC - Tacoma, WA
South Puget Sound Washington Agent/Broker!

Close your eyes, where can you see your coming home to?

Aug 25, 2016 01:50 PM
Debbie Reynolds, C21 Platinum Properties
Platinum Properties- (931)771-9070 - Clarksville, TN
The Dedicated Clarksville TN Realtor-(931)320-6730

Which home excites you when you drive up?

Which home makes you feel relaxed and at home the moment you step inside?

Which home can you see yourself living in 5, 10 years from now?

Which home makes you happier?

It is all about the emotions.

Aug 25, 2016 11:50 AM
Sandy Padula and Norm Padula, JD, GRI
HomeSmart Realty West - Carlsbad, CA
Presence, Persistence & Perseverance

As Richie Alan Naggar stated. I find questions without seeing the results on paper will serve no purpose other than more confusion.

Aug 25, 2016 09:10 AM
Caroline Gerardo
Sun West Mortgage Corporation - Newport Beach, CA
C. G. Barbeau the Loan Lady nmls 324982

Yellow pad, line down the middle good verses bad. IF they don't have more than 15 items on each house, they need to investigate more carefully.

Aug 25, 2016 08:53 AM
Lynnea Miller
Bend Premier Real Estate - Bend, OR
Premier Real Estate Service in Central Oregon

Have them view the home at different times of day - i.e. in the evening, weekend, morning - and see what impact the neighborhood may have on that property. Are children playing in the street after school? Are neighbors arguing or having a party? Are dogs barking? These could make a difference in their "quiet enjoyment" of the home.

Aug 25, 2016 08:38 AM
Roy Kelley
Realty Group Referrals - Gaithersburg, MD

Which home best reflects the desired lifestyle?

Aug 25, 2016 11:46 PM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Even in a model match in a tract home development, there is typically some kind of differences -- why not make a list and write down what you see as the positives/negatives in each property?

Aug 25, 2016 10:54 PM
Gita Bantwal
RE/MAX Centre Realtors - Warwick, PA
REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel

Make two columns and compare.

Aug 25, 2016 10:42 PM
Harry F. D'Elia III
RentVest - Phoenix, AZ
Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR

Write down the pros and cons to each home. Narrow it and make a decision.

Aug 25, 2016 09:38 PM
Nina Hollander, Broker
Coldwell Banker Realty - Charlotte, NC
Your Greater Charlotte Realtor

I don't pose questions. I tell them to go home, close their eyes and visualize where they see themselves living, which home they see themselves coming home to at the end of a long day at work or after a business trip, where they see themselves in their mind's eye celebrating a holiday. I've found that often clarifies their thinking.

Aug 25, 2016 09:17 PM
Gabe Sanders
Real Estate of Florida specializing in Martin County Residential Homes, Condos and Land Sales - Stuart, FL
Stuart Florida Real Estate

It depends on the homes.  Questions about where and how they see themselves in the future are probably best.

Aug 25, 2016 09:16 PM
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Retired - Franklin, MA
Previously Affiliated with The Todaro Team

ask what they DON'T like about each property.... the negative list says it all...

Aug 25, 2016 09:02 PM
Inna Ivchenko
Barcode Properties - Encino, CA
Realtor® • GRI • HAFA • PSC Calabasas CA

Let them sleep on it. If they still can not decide themselves, help them, writing down all cons and pros about those houses. Also, find out who is a decision maker:) 

Aug 25, 2016 04:43 PM
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Maria Sapio, I use Ben Franklin's method - draw a line in the center, give weight to some important factors and keep adding to get a grand total.

Whichever is a winner IS A WINNER!

Aug 25, 2016 04:15 PM
Mitchell J Hall
Manhattan, NY
Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan & Brooklyn

All good answers above to help buyer make decision but it may not be the buyer's decision that matters in the end. The seller must also accept buyer's offer. 

Here is a strategy that may help buyer decide and help you seal the deal.

"Since you like them both. You don't want either to slip away while you decide. You never know if they will accept your offer until you make an offer so lets make offers on both and see what happens.

You can always rescind one of the offers when you know for sure."

Sellers receive multiple bids and have back up offers. Why can't a buyer?

It may actually give buyer more leverage in negotiations if sellers know buyer is also bidding on and still considering another home. 


Aug 25, 2016 03:58 PM
Evelyn Johnston
Friends & Neighbors Real Estate - Elkhart, IN
The People You Know, Like and Trust!

My Buyers rate each home when they are in it.  The kids even get involved.

Aug 25, 2016 01:27 PM
Lise Howe
Keller Williams Capital Properties - Washington, DC
Assoc. Broker in DC, MD, VA and attorney in DC

I like the Ben Franklin close too - 

Aug 25, 2016 12:55 PM
Mary Yonkers
Alan Kells School of Real Estate/Howard Hanna Real Estate - Erie, PA
Erie/PA Real Estate Instructor

Make appointments to see both houses a second time keeping in mind two points:

  1. Other buyers might make offer while they are debating back & forth
  2. Perhaps neither property is the perfect house for them, otherwise they might not be in a contrary about their decision
Aug 25, 2016 11:19 AM
Patricia Kennedy
RLAH Real Estate - Washington, DC
Home in the Capital

What can you ask them that will make them understand that while they are mulling, there might be other buyers putting offers together.  Unless both houses are ugly and smell like cats, they could both fly off the shelf!

Ask how they'd feel if this happened.  

Aug 25, 2016 11:09 AM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg Real Estate Agent Retired

I might go thru again what the couple said was important to them. Then the Ben Franklin method - they both can't be equal.

Aug 25, 2016 10:33 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS | The Maxwell House Group | RE/MAX Executive | (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

 I have buyers rate their houses as they go (on a 1-10 scale).  If one of them was a 10 and the other a 9, I ask what made the one they rated as a 9 not be a 10.  That typically clears it up for them...unless they rated them both 10s!  

Then, I pull out the legal pad, draw a line down the middle and across the middle - section #1 is house #1, #2 is house #2.  If they can't decide, the one with the most pros wins! 

Aug 25, 2016 10:18 AM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy

Like, Richie Alan Naggar I would have then make a list, Maria.  A

Aug 25, 2016 09:23 AM
Donna Foerster
HomeSmart Realty Group - Parker, CO
Metro Denver Real Estate Assistant

I would go back over their list of must haves and needs.

Sep 01, 2016 04:02 AM
Steve McRory
Pro Option Mtg. 888-662-4404 - Tampa, FL
Mortgage Loan Originator

Mortgage Broker responding

If the properties are Condos, I would:


#1   contact the property managemant companies and send them both a Condo Cert. to get the X-rays/Blood Work of the financial condition of the buildings in advance.

#2   contact the property manager as well as the HOA board members to see what major upcoming assements are on the horizon as knowing a $20,000 to $50,000 hit could be coming in 12 months could make the difference for the buyer.

Aug 27, 2016 09:34 PM
Fred Griffin Florida Real Estate
Fred Griffin Real Estate - Tallahassee, FL
Licensed Florida Real Estate Broker

 List the pros and cons.

Aug 27, 2016 07:26 AM
Will Hamm
Hamm Homes - Aurora, CO
"Where There's a Will, There's a Way!"

I have them rate a home 1 to 10, if both are 9's I take them thru the pro's and con's of each home.  I ask what was special on each of them.

Aug 27, 2016 01:39 AM
William Feela
Realtor, Whispering Pines Realty 651-674-5999 No.

A plus column and a minus colomn for both properties

Aug 26, 2016 12:04 PM
Sybil Campbell
Fernandina Beach, FL
Referral Agent Amelia Island Florida

I like Joe Pryor's answer.

Aug 26, 2016 11:03 AM
Olga Simoncelli
Veritas Prime, LLC dba Veritas Prime Real Estate - New Fairfield, CT
CONSULTANT, Real Estate Services & Risk Management

Play the psychiatrist: "how did you feel in that home?", that is if all the practical considerations are more or less equal e.g. location, commute, price, schools, amenities, size and so on.

Aug 26, 2016 04:27 AM
Ryan Huggins - Thousand Oaks, CA - Thousand Oaks, CA
Residential Real Estate and Investment Properties

It's rare that two homes would be equal in someone's mind.  I'd dig deeper and see what the pros and cons are.  Traffic, distances to work, schools, etc.

Aug 26, 2016 03:21 AM
Jessie Cochran
Counts Real Estate Group, Inc. - Panama City, FL
Panama City Realty Group

Some good answers here - reading....

Aug 26, 2016 12:29 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Read Joe Pryor's answer!

Aug 25, 2016 11:13 PM
Richard Weeks
Dallas, TX
REALTOR®, Broker

Location and resale

Aug 25, 2016 10:13 PM
Tony and Suzanne Marriott, Associate Brokers
Serving the Greater Phoenix and Scottsdale Metropolitan Area - Scottsdale, AZ
Haven Express @ Keller Williams Arizona Realty

parked and reading...

Aug 25, 2016 09:51 PM
Bob Crane
Woodland Management Service / Woodland Real Estate, EXP - Stevens Point, WI
Forestland Experts! 715-204-9671

Right now we are in that short period just befor classes start at the University and our leases all end too.

So we had too many choices for some of these people, but while they were hesitating others jumped in and eliminated those extra choices.

Same can happen when buying, "make a choice or someone else may come along and narrow it for you by buying one of these homes".

Aug 25, 2016 01:02 PM
Jeff Dowler, CRS
eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Carlsbad, CA
The Southern California Relocation Dude

I think a list of the pros and cons, particularly in light of their needs and the benefits of what the homes offer can help. 

Aug 25, 2016 10:47 AM
Joan Cox
House to Home, Inc. - Denver Real Estate - 720-231-6373 - Denver, CO
Denver Real Estate - Selling One Home at a Time

Make a list of seven of the top items you would like/need in a home, and see which home comes out on top.   Usually price and location are on this list.

Sep 10, 2016 02:21 AM