If you’ve stumbled upon this happy little read, odds are you’re about to start searching for a new home. Before you begin, keep these five things in mind to help you prepare for a successful home search:
1. Start with Fun
All of you list makers, note writers and jotter downers are going to love this first step. Before you do anything in the home buying process, I want you to research and MAKE LISTS! This will be a compilation of all your hopes and dreams when it comes to your new home. Now that you have this massive list scribbled out, let’s simplify it. This is when you need to have “the talk” with yourself. The one where you figure out what you can realistically achieve within your possible budget. To help get you started, use two categories: “Must Haves” and “Would Like to Haves”. Things to add to List 2.0 would be something like what neighborhoods you prefer or what floor plans you like. This will help you out tremendously when you go out on the town, prowling for that future home.
2. A Little Reality
I bet many of you are still stuck trying to simplify your lists. So this step is about being realistic in your goals. If you are picky about what you want, that’s ok! But don’t be unrealistic with your expectations, because there is no such thing as the perfect home. Let’s say you find a great home that has most of what you want and you can see yourself being happy in it, but you pass it up to see what else is on the market. You may find that by the time you come back to purchase that first home, it has already been bought by some other happy couple. Don’t let this happen to you! When you find the home that is right for you, buy it.
3. Managing the Budget
At last, we arrive at your budget. This is as real as it gets when planning your home search. Review your credit report, your finances (to make sure you have enough for a down payment and closing costs), and future expenses. Then, talk to a lender about getting prequalified for a mortgage. This will show you what you can afford in your home search.
4. Listen with Your Heart
When it comes to home buying, everyone around you seems to have an opinion on the best way to go about it and what you should end up with. Believe me when I tell you, this will be your downfall. In the end, it needs to be you who makes the final decision. After all, you’ll be the one living there!
5. A Good REALTOR®
The real estate professional is your home search super hero! Having a buyer’s representative let’s you walk into the housing market battlefield gun’s blazing. They are usually paid out of the seller’s commission payment, and have the know-how to insure you get the right home at the right price, without any unwanted surprises. If you have mastered the previous steps, your buyer’s rep will be able to provide you with all the necessary information to make this whole process a smooth and enjoyable one.