House hunting can be an overwhelming undertaking if you don’t take the appropriate steps or establish a plan before beginning your search. Unfortunately, many new home buyers aren’t sure where to start the process. Here are four tips to help you start your home buying journey on the right foot.
Tip #1: Understand Your Financial Situation and Plan Accordingly
Before you start looking to purchase your first (or next!) home, you need to familiarize yourself with your financial situation. First, establish your budget to avoid wasting time looking at properties out of your price range. You may have to get pre-approved for a mortgage prior to establishing a budget, as the pre-approval process can help you determine how much you can afford. Check your credit score as well to ensure you qualify for a mortgage loan to finance your home. Plan to spend more than you anticipate, and save money whenever you can to alleviate the stress that comes with affording a home.
Tip #2: Determine Your Wants and Needs
What is non-negotiable for you in your next home? What could you do without? Before looking at homes, create a list of your must haves. Perhaps you need a three bedroom home for you, your husband, and your two children, but you could do without a swimming pool if it doesn’t fall within your price range. The things you need are those that you can’t change, including the location and the size of the property. You may also have items that you can’t change without investing a large amount of money up front, such as the size of your home. Everything else can go on a list of wants you could incorporate down the road.
Tip #3: Hire a Real Estate Agent (Especially as a First-time Buyer)
Having a real estate professional to assist you in your house hunt will help ease the pressure of finding the right home in the right location with the right price. Your agent will find homes based on your needs, coordinate showings, evaluate asking prices based on recent data, work with you to establish a offer, and negotiate with a seller on your behalf. Take the time to find an agent who you connect with and is someone you can trust to help you make one of the largest purchases you’ll make. The right agent for you will be able to provide advice and insight during your entire house hunting journey. If you’d like to discuss your situation, I’d love to hear from you!
Tip #4: Use Comparable Home Sales to Establish an Offer
Once you find the home you want, it’s important to determine what you’ll offer the seller. Many times, homeowners will overprice their homes when they’re first put on the market. In order to establish your offer, use comparable home sales (“comps”). With these comps, you can see what similar properties in the area have sold for. Adjust your offer based on the comps, but take into consideration the features of the home you want that may add more value to the property compared to the homes that sold in the neighborhood.
These quick house hunting tips will help you make the right choice when looking for your next property. Visit and revisit your financial situation, determine what you and your family need in a home, find a real estate agent to help you through the home-buying process, and look at the larger picture when making an offer. If you need someone to work with, give me a call today.