It is quite natural that you will want to make sure you find not only the best house for your money but also the best house for you and your lifestyle. This is extremely important today because purchasing the ‘wrong’ house could actually end up costing you significantly if you decide the house just doesn’t suit your needs and you need to sell it within a short time after purchasing it. This is due to the current transition of the housing market and decline of home appreciation values. While home prices are still holding their own in many locales, you could find yourself trying to get rid of a home that has not maintained its market value or even appreciated during the short time you own it. Don’t allow yourself to fall into this potential trap. Take the time to find a right home the first time.
Narrow the search parameters
The first step is to begin looking at factors that will influence your home buying decision and narrow down the parameters somewhat before you actually begin shopping around for your dream home.
When you begin looking for homes you will quickly discover there are almost literally hundreds of listings, particularly if you begin your search on the Internet. The wealth of information available can quickly leave you dazed and confused. To avoid making a costly mistake and possibly choosing a home that just isn’t right for you, it is important to narrow down some of those options by taking into consideration the advantages and disadvantages of each.
Pre-approve for mortgage
Before you do any of that you need to first make sure all your financial information is in order. This not only helps you to determine exactly how much money you can spend on a home but also makes you a more attractive homebuyer to sellers. In the event you and another buyer want the same house, sellers are typically more likely to accept offers from buyers who have been pre-approved for their mortgage.
Decide on the neighborhood
If you haven’t already done so, one of the first steps you should take is to decide on the neighborhood where you want to live. This is particularly important if you will be looking in a metropolitan area where there may be numerous suburbs and neighborhoods. Be sure to consider proximity to school and work as well as entertainment, shopping and worship centers.
Types of home
When it comes down to actually choosing a house, you can easily look at dozens of home before you find one that will suit your needs unless you consider beforehand the type of home that will best suit your needs. As you peruse the market, you will typically find numerous options available. Town homes, condos, single family homes, etc. Each type of home offers various advantages and disadvantages.
For example, if you prefer quieter residential living a single family home may suit your needs best. Be aware; however, that while single family homes offer more privacy and typically appreciate better than other housing options they also require more maintenance and are typically more expensive. Home buyers who enjoy a little or no maintenance lifestyle may find that a condo, co-op or townhome suits their needs better. The convenience of little maintenance comes at a price; however—while these options are less expensive than single family homes they are typically much noisier and offer very little privacy.
Regardless of which option you choose, you will also need to give some considerations to interior specs, such as the number of bedrooms and baths you prefer as well as other considerations such as formal vs. informal living areas. Don’t forget to also consider whether you prefer an attached or detached garage. Homes with attached garages are typically somewhat less expensive than homes with detached garages and offer a higher level of convenience, although they are often noisier.
Look for a real estate agent
Once you have made these decisions it is time to contact a real estate agent and get to work. Be aware that the amounts of time you spend looking for a home may well depend on the quality of the agent you choose. Be sure to look for an agent who really listen to your needs and focus on finding you a home that will meet your needs and not just earn them a higher commission.
Allow sufficient time
Make sure you are prepared before you actually start the home buying experience. Do not make the mistake of scheduling home tours on a day when you will be rushed for time. Allow sufficient time to really see the home as well as its surroundings.
Keep a notebook
Bring a notebook with you to make notes regarding the house while you tour it. It’s also a good idea to bring along a digital camera so you can take some photos to help jog your memory of the home later on. This is especially important if you will be viewing a large number of homes.
Don’t be fooled by home staging
Keep in mind that home staging is rising rapidly in popularity around the country today. More and more homes are being professionally staged to sell quickly. Don’t let yourself be fooled by a great decorating job. Keep your priorities in mind and make sure the home really offers what you need.
Re-visit the house at different times
Be aware that homes and neighborhoods are often much different at night than they are during the day. Schedule a return trip on your home to drive through the neighborhood and make note of whether there is anything that might prove to be distracting, such as a barking dog, overly bright security light shining right in the master bedroom, nearby train tracks, etc.
Never allow yourself to feel pressured into making snap decisions just because someone else is looking at the same house or because interest rates are currently low. Making quick decisions can spell trouble and cause you to overlook elements of the home that might not actually suit you.
Follow up visit
After you have narrowed down your selections, phone your agent to request follow-up visits to your top choices. If you’re having a difficult time in making a decision you may well find that a second visit reveals issues you hadn’t noticed the first time you viewed the homes, making your choice much easier.
By making sure you have taken the time to address your needs and concerns up front and drafted a step by step plan, you will be in a better position to find the perfect house for your needs and lifestyle.