Houses on Sale: What to Look For

In an economic environment of falling home values, eroding real estate equity, and millions of foreclosures, “houses on sale” does seem to describe the situation.

However, to find the houses you want for sale, it is best to search using terms other than ‘houses on sale.’

Here are several tactics that might enable you to better describe your parameters so you can more quickly narrow the fields to houses, on sale or not, that are the ones that best fit your needs.

Parameters for finding Houses on Sale

Size – The number of bedrooms is a very common descriptor and a typical proxy for the size of a house. For example, “3 bd house for sale” means, “three bedroom house for sale.”

A three bedroom house probably has at least two full bathrooms, and at least three, probably four, additional living spaces.

People usually describe their houses, on sale or for sale, in terms of the number of bedrooms rather than in terms of square feet.

Price range – Do houses go on sale? They do when sellers price them too high and then have to drop their asking prices. That’s why it’s ok to search for prices just a little bit higher – say, 5% to 7% -- than what you want to pay. That house might not be on sale at the moment, but if it lingers on the market, it might be a “house on sale” soon.

Market trends – Not just houses, but entire markets, can go ‘on sale.’ Track popular indices like the Case-Shiller index to see if house values are, in general, rising or falling in the neighborhoods you like. Get even more specific pricing tactics at the Pricing Guide. If it’s a ‘house for sale,’ a little negotiating could make it a ‘house on sale.’

Using these parameters and the Search tab, found above, you should be able to find the right house for you.

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