So you’re thinking about hunting for a home. Congratulations! How do you plan on finding the home you want? It’s surprising how few people can answer this question. Most people say: “Well, I guess I’d look online and maybe contact a real estate agent.” Sure, that’s a fine place to start… but if you want to hunt for a home like a pro, here are some simple tactics that will make your experience much more efficient, pleasurable, and likely to land you a home you want to buy.
1. Know what you can afford. How can you begin to look before you know what you can buy? Price range usually narrows the field considerably. You may not even know how much you can afford, though an agent can help you work through that math. Getting pre-qualified for a mortgage can also help you find the answer to this question.
2. Know where you want to live. Seems obvious, right? But within cities and communities there are all manner of neighborhoods with different flavors, amenities, and schools. Understanding things like walk scores, commute times, and the quality of the school district can have a huge impact on your choice. If you find a home you love in a neighborhood you can’t stand, you aren’t going to be happy.
3. Know what type of home you want. How much room do you need? What are your future plans? Do you love gardening, or would you rather never worry about a lawn? Do you work from home? Do you want an historic home? Is new construction your dream? Knowing what you can afford can help with this question, but you’ll still need to look at your desires and priorities to determine what’s right for you.
4. Give yourself plenty of time at showings. You may have an urge to see as many homes as you can in a single day or weekend, but feeling the crunch of the clock can keep you from really inspecting the home and getting a feel for the property. You want time to open drawers, cabinets, and walk around the yard areas as well. If the clock’s ticking, you won’t truly evaluate what you see.
5. Sign up for property alerts. Homes show up on the market all the time. Sign up for as many online property alerts in your target neighborhood(s) as possible.
6. Tell friends and family what you’re looking for. One of the best times to find your home is before it’s on the market. Friends, family, work associates, and their network of friends may know someone who’s thinking about selling just the sort of house you want. Ask around!
I am more than happy to help you work through these with you. Let’s talk about your home search together.