Once you know how much money you can borrow and have an estimate of your closing costs, you’ll know the price range you can afford. You might already have your “dream home” in mind. Perhaps you want to settle down in a particular neighborhood, or maybe you just need more space for your growing family. Even if you know exactly what you’re looking for, the house hunting process can seem overwhelming — and it takes time.
Some Good House Hunting Tips
- Bring a spouse, family member or friend.
- Take pictures inside and outside of the home.
- Make sure the asking price fits into your budget. You should also consider the cost of taxes and insurance. (Getting pre-approved can prepare you for this).
- Ask about the cost of utilities and other maintenance costs.
- Think of commuting time and fuel costs.
- Compare what you would like to have against what you really need to be happy. (It may help to do a Wants vs. Actual Needs analysis).
- Consider your monthly budget — after you factor in the mortgage payment, utilities, and other routine monthly bills, can you afford the renovations and maintenance that you may need to do, as well as have money left over for unexpected expenses?
What else can you do to make the house hunting process easier?
- List your needs. Know the difference between your wants and your needs and keep track of the homes you see that come closest to meeting your needs. You should take notes after each showing so that you will remember which homes had positive and negative features. After viewing the first four or five homes, they may start “running together” and your notes will help to keep them straight.
- Concentrate on a few neighborhoods. Decide what’s most important to you about the neighborhood you want. This can greatly narrow down your search. There are several hundreds of homes on the market for sale at any given time. If you tried to look at all of the ones that you might be interested in, you would never be able to get through them all.
- Find a good Realtor®. If you find a good Realtor®, he or she will have access to many more listings than you can find on your own. Also, they can help you to select the ones that most closely match the features that are important to your family.
- Compare homes. Make sure you think carefully about the positive features, as well as any negative things about each house before you make a decision regarding an offer to purchase.
If I can help with your house hunt in any way, please let me know. Contact me to receive your FREE copy of the Wants-vs-Needs Analysis Worksheet.