Home » Buy A Home » The Home Buying Process » House Hunting Tips
Get Pre Approved for A Mortgage
Getting Pre-approved for a mortgage is critical, and one of the steps that most homebuyers tend to overlook. It is important to speak with a lender and get the pre-approval letter before you set up your first showing with your real estate agent. Getting this done will give you the information that you need to sift through the houses out there on the market. Doing this does not obligate you in any way to take out a mortgage, or even use the same lender that gave you the pre-approval if you decided to change.
It shows you what the top end of your price range would be, and you may find you can afford more house than you thought or that you need to go through your must haves and make adjustments. Doing this before you start looking ato homes will save you time later, when you find the house you want you can make an offer right away, and it eliminates the heartbreak with falling in love with house and finding out it is outside your price range.
Know Your Budget (and stick to it)
It's important to figure out your budget and make sure that you stick to it. The price of the home is only expense you are going to have when you purchase a home. keep in mind you will have taxes, insurance, home repairs, heating and cooling electric and other bills that will be be different that you have now in your current situation. WHile it can be tempting to max out your budget on the special house with the landscaped yard or the extra bathroom, if it's not in your budget it may not be as enjoyable down the road.
Do Your Research
Check out the neighborhood, find out about the local school systems, crime rates, home sales data and everything you can about the area as well as the house. Most of this information is available online , and your real estate agent should be able to point you in the right direction to find this information, make sure you ask them if you have any questions.
Go to Open Houses
A great way to get familiar with an area and what you like and don't like in a house is to go to open houses. They are low pressure because all you need to do is find an open house and show up. taking a tour doesn't take very long, and can give you an idea of things that you like or don't like in a home. Seeing things in person can sometimes give you a better idea of feature s that you may not have thought you wanted or things that you can scratch off your must have list.
If you are working with an agent with a buyers agreement, make sure you disclose that to the listing agent that is present at the open house. This will let them know that you are being represented by another agent should you decided that you do like the house and want to put in an offer. It is also good practice to let your agent know if you are attending an open house even if you prefer to just go on your own to look around. They can give you some advice on things to do and not do when you are looking around.
Don't Get Discouraged By Easily Fixed Features
When you are searching for your next home, keep in mind that you probably won't find the perfect home that fits everything on your wishlist. Some things in a home can be easily changed or fixe. If a home is priced right (under budget) and has a majority of your wishlist, don't get hung up on little things that can be changed.
Things like ugly paint colors or wallpaper, old looking light fixtures and other items that may appear to be in need up updating or even stained old carpet can be updated and changed if the home is priced right.
Try to keep this in mind when you are viewing homes. everything isn't going to be perfect, unless yu design and build it yourself, but you should be able to find one that you love.
Find A Good Real Estate Agent
Make sure you find a real estate agent that has knowledge of the area and the business. It may seem like a little thing but not all real estate agents are the same. You want to find someone who has the ability to get the job done and represent you to get you the best deal and home you can. Interview the agents make sure your personalities fit and that they are going to put your needs first and above a quick paycheck. Ask friends and Family members for referrals or make sure you interview the agent before you sign any contract with them.
A good agent will be willing to answer all of your questions and will take the time to explain the process and how they can benefit you in your search. Keep in mind that just because an agent is brand new doesn't mean they are not able to get the job done, and on the same token just because an agent has been in the business for 30 years doesn't mean they are the best option for you either.
Make a List Of Must Haves
When you first start looking at homes it is best to sit down and take the time to figure out what you "Must Have" in your next home. The best way to do this is write out everything that you want in your next home and then go through the list one item at a time split them into three categories, "Must Have" "Would Like To Have" "Bonus Features". Everyone is different and somethings are more important some people than they are to others.
If you are buying the house with a partner or spouse, this is a critical step. Before you begin to look it is important that you are both on the same page with what you want in your new home. you don't want to assume you both want a particular feature only to find out later on that one of you doesnt want something that you think is a must have.
It's also important to keep in mind that you will probably not find a house that fits 100% of everything that you want on all three lists. That is why it's good to know the things you are willing to compromise on vs the things that you must have.
Preview Homes Online
It is a good idea to take a look at properties online before you decide to set up showings. Take a look at listings on your real estate agents website, google the address and look at the overview of the neighborhood, Check out the drive times from the houses that you think you like to the places that you go to often. Sometimes a little research can turn up things that you didn't expect and can eliminate properties even before you get in your car to drive around.
Take Small Notes About Each Home You View
When you start your house hunting and going to showings, it can be helpful to take quick notes about each house yu visit so that when you are trying to decide between one or two different homes you can remember the things that stuck out to you that you liked and disliked about each one. Your Bellanor Realty Group Agent will have a quick facts sheet that you can fill in about each home as you visit so that you can compare them at the end of the day.
Take A Second Look
When you narrow down the list to one or to homes, sometimes it is helpful to schedule a second showing so that you can take one more look before you fill out the purchase and sales and make an offer.
Talk to your real estate agent about this ahead of time, some markets move much faster than others and a second showing may have to take place that same day or it could possibly be put off until the next day or later. Your real estate agent will be able to help you understand the market and what to expect for a timeline.
Just remember, the house you looked at today, and need to think about, was the house someone else looked at yesterday and thought about last night. Even though you should be ready to make an offer when you find the right house you should never feel pressured into doing anything that you don't want to.
And last but not least........
Use Your Agent
Your agent is there to help you with the entire process, and provide you with information recommendations and referrals if needed. They are professionals and you chose them for a reason. Make sure you use them. Ask them questions when you have them, there are no stupid questions. You don't buy a house every day but your agent does sell them everyday and will have the information that you need or if it is outside their scope of practice they will be able to tell you who you do have to talk to to find the answers. If your agent ever makes you feel like you are a bother to them it may be time to find a new agent.