Buying a home is usually the most expensive transaction a person will make. Because of this, the process can become overwhelming. The house you buy will not only be an expensive purchase, but a place you will call home. It’s an important decision not to be taken lightly, which is why I’ve put together 5 tips on finding a house that’s right for you. It is my hope these tips will help you when searching for a house for sale.
1. What Priorities Make a House Right For You?
Take out a pen and paper, or a document on your phone or computer and make a couple of lists. A list of needs and a list of wants:
• Needs. These are the top priority items that would be considered deal-breakers if a home does not have them. Consider things like location to work, school district, bathrooms, etc.
• Wants. These will be features you want in a home, but if you find a house for sale that meets your list of needs, you’ll be okay if it’s missing something from this list. This list will have things like a big yard, nice kitchen, new or older, etc.
2. Get Your Finances Ready to Buy a House
This is something you’ll want to do at the beginning of house hunting. Not only do need to make sure you’re in a position to buy, but you also need to find out how much you can afford. You will need to get in contact with a lender to get a prequalification letter and determine how much you can borrow.
• Once you find out how much you can borrow, you’ll need to determine what price-point you’re comfortable spending. What I mean is you’ll want to figure out what’s that going to cost you each month including taxes and insurance. Is that a payment you’re comfortable making? It’s not uncommon for the amount the lender is willing to give is more than you’re willing to pay each month.
• You can also share with your lender from the beginning, the monthly payment you’d like to stay at, and they can calculate an estimate, with current interest rates, to figure out what price point you need to stay around.
3. Search for a House That’s Right For You
Now that you figured out a price range and have a clear understanding of your needs and wants, it’s to time find the perfect place to call home. You can begin looking before you have an agent to represent you.
• A property listing search engine like eXprealty.com, will help you narrow down your search. You’ll begin by typing in the city and state. From there you can add more specific information like price range, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, etc.
• Once you’ve found a few homes that look like good possibilities, you can do one of two things:
◦ Drive by the property yourself to get a feel for the neighborhood. You won’t be able to go in the house, but sometimes just driving by will help you determine if it’s worth your time to look inside. The home may look good on screen, but it may not be in an ideal location. For example, you may have small children, but the home faces a busy street. Though the property meets your criteria, you may decide against it because you don’t like how close it is to traffic.
◦ You can also go ahead and contact a real estate agent to tour the properties. Agents are usually more knowledgeable about the area and can help you find what you’re looking for.
4. Consider Your Future With a Home
When searching for the right house for you, consider what your future may look like. What are your plans for this home?
• Is it a starter home you only plan on being in for a few years?
• Is it big enough to shelter a growing family?
• Will your children be moving out in a few years and suddenly the home is too big?
• Will you be able to resale the home easily?
These are just a few ideas, but you get the gist. Like I mentioned in the beginning, this will be one of the biggest transactions you have ever made. Yes, this home is for you to live in right now, but thinking ahead is always important when making such a big decision.
5. Be Realistic in Finding a House That’s Right For You
Try to stay realistic. Once you figure out financing, this will be easier because you’ll have a more concrete expectation of what you’ll be spending. When buying an existing home, try not to be stuck with an expectation that exceeds reality.
On the flip side, don’t let yourself get sucked in by a “wow-factor” and you end up spending way more than you originally wanted to. I know there are several variables when finding the right house for sale that can sway your decision. Try to maintain a level of thought process when searching for a home as much as possible.
Lastly, be patient. The real estate market is fast-paced so this can be hard, but being patient is key in finding the house that’s right for you. You want to be happy where you live and if you buy a home on a whim, you may not be happy in the long run. Applying these tips will help you find the perfect place to call home.