Many homebuyers jump too quickly into the house hunting phase of finding their dream home. Of course, it’s easy to understand the enthusiasm behind wanting to get out and look for your new home as soon as possible. However, if you want the greatest chance of success, it’s important to do a little preparation before you begin looking at homes.
Make a List of Top Priorities & Desired Features
One of the first things you need to do is to make sure you have a very clear idea of what it is you want in your new home. Make a list of your top priorities such as the number of bedrooms, specific amenities, location or school district, square footage, lot size, or accessibility to public transportation. Whatever is a top priority for you and your family should be on this list. Next, make a list of features you would like, but that are not necessarily priorities or must-have items. Keep in mind, unless you are building custom new construction, chances are good that you’re going to have to make some compromises along the way.
Establish a Budget
The next part of your search for your dream home is establishing a budget and setting the amount you’re able to spend on your new home. There’s really no reason to waste time looking at homes that you aren’t able to purchase. It’s a good idea to contact your lender and get a prequalification letter. This letter will let you know exactly how much financing you qualify for, so you can set a realistic budget for the home you can purchase. Of course, your own personal budget will depend on your particular circumstances, including your lifestyle and current expenses. If you want to travel, send your kids to private school, or you have other major expenses, you might want to spend less than your lender is willing to finance. Balancing the right home in the right neighborhood with your personal budget is important.
Find the Right Real Estate Agent
With your priority and wish lists in hand, as well as a prequalification letter from your lender, it’s time to find a professional real estate agent to help you find your dream home. Choose an agent who has extensive experience in the local market as well as one who works in the area where you would like to buy your new home. Some agents specialize in specific neighborhoods. An experienced agent can be a valuable asset, especially when it comes to finding the home of your dreams. They’ll also be a crucial ally during the negotiation process as well.
When you meet with your real estate agent, make sure to be very clear about what you are looking for and what items would be a deal breaker. Of course, you also have to be open to being a little flexible. Don’t be surprised if your priorities change as you begin your house hunting adventure. Your real estate agent will show you a number of different properties, so be open to revising your expectations as you learn more about the types of properties on the market as well as what your budget will be able to purchase.
If you’re ready to start hunting for your dream home, contact us to find a quality real estate agent to help!