If finding the best home is your goal, you need a solid strategy. House hunting isn’t much different than other shopping expeditions. If you know exactly what you need, you will have no trouble finding that dream house at a reasonable price.
Here are eight tips to guide you through the process of buying a home:
1. Know yourself
You should know what kind of home suits your tastes and needs. Are you interested in a new or an existing house? Would you prefer a ranch? What about a multistory house? If you are planning to buy a home that needs some repairs, you should know if you have got the budget to hire a contractor. Of course, if you are truly handy you wouldn’t perhaps need a contractor.
2. Do your homework
Prepare a list of features you need in a home. Some of these are necessities while the others are extras that you can perhaps do without. Identify three or four neighborhoods where you would like to buy a home. While choosing a neighborhood, make sure that it is not far from where you work. An ideal neighborhood will have easy access to schools, hospitals, markets, and other facilities.
You also need to consider the cost of living in the area. Avoid areas that are infested with criminals. Once you have prepared a list of your preferences, visit some good property websites to see if there are any listings for homes within your price range.
3. Be money wise
You should be able to buy a home priced 2 or 3 times your gross annual income. However, before applying for a loan, you need to calculate how much you are willing to spend each month on a mortgage. You should investigate your finance before you start looking for a home.
Discuss your financial situation with a lender and try to get a preapproval letter specifying how much you are eligible to borrow. Sellers will take your offer more seriously if you have a loan preapproval letter.
4. Set a timeline for moving
If your credit history isn’t very good, you will probably have to wait a little longer to get a home loan. If you are planning to buy a new house after selling your existing one, you should know how much time you need to sell. All of these are important factors that could affect your chances of buying a home.
5. Consider long term
How long do you intend to stay in that house? If you are planning to move in a couple of years, you will probably only need a starter house. But if you are planning to stay in that house for a long time, you should find one that has got all the features you normally look for in a home.
6. Hire a realtor
You should know at least a few people who bought homes recently. Ask them to refer a real estate agent to you. Find an agent familiar with the neighborhood where you plan to buy a home. Don’t hire a listing agent; they usually work for sellers. Instead, find one that represents buyers. And finally check whether the agent is a member of the National Association of Realtors.
7. Be realistic
Learn to overlook minor imperfections. There is no such thing as a perfect home. Of course you want to buy the best home in the best neighborhood, but don’t be unrealistic. On the other hand, don’t overlook factors like noise levels. They can seriously affect the quality of your life.
8. Don’t seek a second opinion from all and sundry
Buying a home is a great financial decision. Naturally, you will want to seek reassurance from friends and family. If you want a second opinion, ask 1 or 2 people you trust. However, don’t get swayed by their opinion. Stay true to your needs and wants. That is the most important thing.