How To Prepare for House-Hunting
Know that there’s no “right” time to buy.
If you find the perfect home now, don’t risk losing it because you’re trying to guess where the housing market and interest rates are going. Those factors usually don’t change fast enough to make a difference in an individual home’s price.
Don’t ask for too many opinions.
It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas from too many people will make it much harder to make a decision. Focus on the wants and needs of the people who will actually be living in the home.
Accept that no house is ever perfect.
If it’s in the right location, the yard may be a bit smaller than you had hoped. The kitchen may be perfect, but the roof needs repair. Make a list of your top priorities and focus in on things that are most important to you. Let the minor ones go. Also, accept that a little buyer’s remorse is inevitable and will most likely pass.
Don’t try to be a killer negotiator.
Negotiation is definitely a part of the real estate process, but trying to “win” by getting an extra-low price or refusing to budge may cost you the home you love.
Remember your home doesn’t exist in a vacuum.
Don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself that you forget about important issues such as noise level, access to amenities, and other aspects that also have a big impact on your quality of life.
Don’t wait until you’ve found a home to get approved for a mortgage, investigate insurance, or consider a moving schedule. Being prepared will make your bid more attractive to sellers.
Choose a home first because you love it; then think about appreciation.
A home is still considered a great investment, but its most important role is as a comfortable, safe place to live.
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Tips For Making Your Home-Buying Process Easier
Get your finances in order
The first thing anyone buying a home needs to do is make sure that his or her finances are in order. If you are like most buyers, you will be approaching lenders for a mortgage, and you can expect those lenders to want a lot of information from you – proof that lending to you is a smart business decision. Your mortgage, and how much you pay in interest, will hinge on your credit score. It is extremely important to boost your score as much as you can if you want to save thousands, possibly tens of thousands, of dollars on your mortgage.
Get pre-approved by a lender
You need to know how much you can spend on a house before you start shopping. The best way to determine your budge is to get pre-approval from a lender. It is a good idea to shop around for your mortgage, as you may get better results from one lender than another. They will be looking at your credit and your income to determine what you can borrow. Keep in mind that a pre-approval is not a full approval. If your credit status or employment status changes in a negative way between the time you are pre-approved and when you actually try and buy a house, you may not be able to get the loan on the same terms, or at all. As soon as you are pre-approved, it is advisable that you get started shopping for the home.
Get your timing down
You don’t want to be without a place to live, so you need consider that to buy a house and close on it can typically take 45-60 days.
Have clear goals
Knowing what you want before you start shopping is important if you want to save time and be satisfied with your purchase. Take some time to write down all the things you want out of a home.
Buying a home is often about making compromises. When you know what is most important, you can look for homes that have those qualities. Who knows, you may find one that has everything you could ask for. But if you don’t, you will at least have a home that works for you and your needs.
Target areas and neighborhoods you like
You can explain your goals and dreams, what you want out of your new home and most importantly your ideal location.
- Choose a location (downtown, urban, suburban, rural).
- Choose a type (single family, townhouse, condo).
- Choose a price range.
- Choose a size.
- Choose an architectural style.
- Look online for information on schools, crime rate, traffic and zoning.
- Determine your work commute.
- Scout local amenities, such as parks, shops and restaurants.