You’re jumping into house hunting with excitement, but how can you be sure of finding your dream home? Here are some pointers to get you started.
Decide What You’re Looking For
Lists can be underrated! Yours should have several columns: must-haves, nice-to-haves, and extras, as well as where you want your home to be located, what kind of neighborhood you dream of living in, which amenities you can’t live without, and what style you’re looking for. Don’t forget to make a list of dealbreakers, including the things you loathe the most when it comes to your home.
Find a Real Estate Agent
It just doesn’t make a lot of sense to go house hunting without an agent, especially since the buyer has to pay their commission. An agent can bring insider knowledge to your home buying experience and help hok you up with a house in your budget and your preferred neighborhood.
Window Shop Online
An MLS (multiple listing service) collates databases of homes on the market, and can be a good way to get an idea of home prices in your desired area. Just be aware that sometimes the best finds haven’t hit the listings yet, and your agent could be a better source of up-to-date information. That said, you can learn a lot by looking at pictures of homes in neighborhoods you’re interested in and brushing up on amenities and things like school scores.
Hit Up the Open Houses
Also go to as many open houses as you can. There’s nothing like being in a neighborhood to get a feel for its actual vibe. You should also visit on different days of the week and at early orning and late night if you find a house you like. You want to know in advance if there are loud parties four doors down or if a pack of loose dogs tends to roam the block.
Do’s for House Hunting
Do get preapproved first. Finding your dream home can end in heartbreak if the financing process takes too long and you end up with an offer rejected because the buyer doesn’t have faith in you. Preapproval also helps you finalize your budget so you don’t look at homes way ut of your actual price range.
Do take an unbiased third party with you to look for things you might miss in your excitement. It never hurts to have a second opinion. You’ll also want to bring your prewritten checklist to make sure the house you’re walking through meets your criteria and doesn’t hit any of the dealbreaker items.
Do come prepared with a camera (the one on your phone is fine), a file folder and a tape measure so you can build a file on every house you’re serious about.
Don’ts for Home Buyers
Don’t bring a bunch of people with you who are opinionated, hate the fact you’;re moving, and don’t have any say in what you decide to do. You’ll be so busy trying to placate them you could miss important stuff.
Don’t ignore shut doors or windows. Open everything and turn on the taps and flip light switches. See if the AC or heat kicks on and if the hot water heater works.
Once you find the perfect home, you’re ready to start talking offers, and that’s when the home buying process starts to get real!
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