Whether you are moving on short notice, or you have been planning to buy a new home for a very long time, you’ll be looking for the best house hunting tips. It doesn’t matter if you have moved many times before or if you are a first-time buyer, you’ll find the search to be the most exciting step of the moving process. You will certainly find yourself wondering when to start house hunting and how to properly prepare for the entire process. The following tips will, hopefully, answer all of your questions and help you avoid any common mistakes people make when looking for a new residence.
Before You Start Hunting, Start Saving Up
You may be very eager to get out there and start looking for real estate as soon as you feel that it’s time to move out and you have valid reasons to move. But, the entire searching process requires a lot of planning and organization. Organizing your finances before you do anything else should be your number one priority. You will be surprised by all the costs and expenses of the moving process. You will have to factor this in along with the costs of packing and moving services. So before you make any other important moves, start saving up. You will be thanking yourself if you start saving up now instead of missing out on the home of your dreams because you didn’t organize your budget properly.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage or Loan
Perhaps you will find a residence that looks like everything you’ve ever dreamed of, but it will be far outside your budget, which would be very disappointing. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you a good idea of what your budget will be and how much you can borrow. So write down how much you earn, take out the expenses and taxes, and sort out what your moving budget will be. When you determine how much you’re willing to spend on down payment and monthly payments, you can start looking for a new residence.
Identify What You’re Looking for in Your New Home
It’s usually for the best to have a rough idea about what kind of property you would like to buy. So, sit down and think this through. How large of a building would you like, how many stories, how many rooms? All of this info will be helpful. Both in your search for a new residence and for your real estate agent too.
Create a Must-Have Checklist
Once you have zeroed in on what you want your future domicile to be like, it’s important to go through your list again, and decide on the “Must-haves” and “Wants.” The chance of you finding the homestead of your dreams is slim, but something close to your ideal image is doable. This is why you should separate what your future place of residence must have, and the things which you would like it to have. If you’re planning on starting a family, or are already moving with your family, you’ll need a larger residence, which means more bedrooms. Your must-haves should also include any essential utilities. As opposed to the must-haves, the wants category should comprise of your preferences, but not necessarily deal-breakers.
Rely on Your Checklist When House Hunting
So once you get started with house searching, you can always rely on your checklist of needs and wants when making any important decisions. You have to be realistic about your situation if you like a certain piece of property. If it doesn’t fulfill any of your must-haves – maybe it’s not the one. On the other hand, if some residence checks out all of your must-haves, but not necessarily all of the wants, it might be your best option. This is one of the most important tips when searching for a house, as it can save you a lot of time, money and nerves. So, ignoring the perfect picture you have of your home-to-be and making some compromises will be very important.
You’ll Want to Check out a Number of Open Houses
If you have some free time, it would be a good idea to drive around the area you’d like to move to, and check if there are houses for sale. Maybe you’ll stumble upon your dream house, which you wouldn’t find otherwise. You should check out a number of open houses, even if you don’t plan on buying one currently. This way, you will get a lot of information about what could possibly be your new residence. You can see if you like the neighborhood, you can learn about the layout of the place and the yard, and you’ll have a better idea of what exactly you are looking for.
Find a Home Online
Thanks to the technology we have today, you can look for your future residence online, with some of the listings even providing virtual tours. So don’t forget that you can use the internet when looking for a property. Not only will you be able to cast a wider net, but you will also be able to preview the properties online. You can then create a shortlist of properties you’d like to check out in person or ask for more photos and videos, if possible. Some of the most popular websites you can use for this purpose are Realtor.com, Zillow.com, and Trulia.com. Keep in mind that you can create an account on the websites mentioned above, and save your searches as templates.
Hire an Agent to Help with the Hunt
One of the most popular pieces of advice you’ll come across is to hire an agent to help you out. This is especially the case when it comes to being a first-time buyer, as there are many mistakes you’ll want to avoid. So keep this in mind, particularly because buying a property is a very important decision and a very expensive one as well. Here are some of the things that a real estate agent can help you with when searching for a new place of residence.
Searching for a Home
One of the most important steps of the process is going through all of the different listings. This is just one of the tasks which a real estate agent can take care of for you. They’ll find suitable homes, using your instructions, and will organize the tours for you.
Getting the Best Price
A real estate agent can be very helpful when it comes to assessing the recent sales of homes in the area you’d like to move to. They can help and advise you on how much to pay and they can present the offer to the owner themselves. An experienced real estate agent can help you out with the negotiation of the deal as well.
Advice for Buying Real Estate
Not only can a real estate agent help you with finding a property and getting you the best prices, remember that they usually have years of experience in the realtor business. They have probably handled countless similar jobs before and will know how to best help you out during the entire searching process.
Visit the Houses You Shortlisted
So if you’ve gone through the previous steps, you’ll find yourself with a shortlist of homes you are interested in. Now you, or your agent, can organize the tours and get started. Go through your shortlist, one by one, and write down everything you like or dislike about the houses. If you’d like to go a step further, you can take photos of the homes and make different folders for further evaluation. This will be very useful if your partner can’t go searching with you.
Don’t Forget Your Home Checklist
What’s the point of your checklist if you don’t bring it with you when you go looking for a new residence? It will prove helpful when evaluating the homes. You can add to it as you visit more homes, and create separate checklists for each one.
Other Popular House Hunting Tips
Don’t forget that your time will be very important as you will probably have a lot of homes to visit. In case you found yourself having to plan a last-minute move, it will be of the essence. You may spend hours in one and minutes in different homes you don’t like, so plan ahead and get started as soon as possible. Looking around the residence is also among the most popular tips. Don’t be afraid to poke around and look inside different rooms – how else are you to know whether it’s a storage room or a bedroom on the other side.
Remember that you can do a makeover once you buy a piece of property. There are many things you will be able to change, as the décor, for example. Don’t let it be a deal-breaker if the homes you’re checking out fit most of your must-haves. You should be looking at the more important aspects, like the number of rooms and the view. There are many ways to improve your home before you move in.
Scout Ahead Before You Make the Decision
Do keep in mind that you’re buying a new residence for yourself and your family. You’re going to spend a part of your life, not only in this estate but also in the neighborhood. Check out the area in advance, perhaps you’ll find something you’ll like or a deal-breaker, maybe it is in an area too busy and loud for your liking.