Tips for the house hunting process

Whether you are in the market for your first home or your fifth, the house hunting process can quickly become overwhelming! The following 10 tips can make searching for your new home as easy and enjoyable as possible.

  1. Get preapproved

Want sellers to take you seriously? Make sure you receive a letter or preliminary mortgage approval from your lender. This allows you to look for homes in a specific price range while demonstrating your financial credibility to sellers.

  1. Find the right real estate agent

Real estate agents are professionals whose entire career is based upon helping buyers find their dream homes. Meet and interview several agents to find the right fit; don’t forget to ask friends and family for recommendations – or realtors to avoid.

  1. Research market trends

Researching market trends can help you buy in the right place at the right time. Even if you aren’t yet ready to buy, start monitoring homes in your desired neighborhood and price point; this can help give you a better idea of what to expect once you’re ready to begin house hunting in earnest.

  1. Identify up-and-coming areas

Buying a home in an up-and-coming area can help significantly increase the value of your investment. Look for new construction, low crime rates, good schools, and new businesses.

  1. Location, location, location!

Prioritize the location of your new home above all else. Houses in good locations have better chances of appreciating in value – and selling faster in the future.

  1. Manage your expectations

Finding the right home takes patience. Separate your must-haves from your like-to-haves to help manage expectations; it’s doubtful that you’ll find a home with absolutely everything you want, so be willing to compromise.

  1. Overlook cosmetic issues

Don’t be turned off by cosmetic issues in a home. Paint color, flooring, and fixtures can be easily replaced with something that is your style. Look for a home with a strong foundation and good “bones” – even if it has ugly wallpaper.

  1. Have a critical eye

A home is a major investment; keeping a critical eye when viewing a home can help you spot potential problems. Test everything from the toilets and faucets to the doorbell and light switches; having a walkthrough checklist can help you keep track of what works – and what doesn’t.

  1. Plan for additional costs

Plan for additional costs with a home such as estimated monthly utilities, HOA fees, or insurance increases. Don’t forget to add additional room in the budget for new furnishings, maintenance and upkeep, lawn care, and changes to transportation costs.

  1. Don’t skip the home inspection

Home inspections are designed to protect buyers; don’t offer to skip in an effort to make your offer on a home more appealing. If the inspection uncovers problems, be prepared to ask the sellers to make the repairs or lower the cost of the home.

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