Finding the perfect home can be overwhelming even for the seasoned home buyer. From looking at online listings to visiting open houses to losing out on bidding wars – it can consume hours and hours of your life and drive you a bit crazy.
The secret to stopping the madness is getting organized and being realistic. Here are some tips and tricks to get you there:
- Get pre-approved. This should be the first step in the homebuying process. Your pre-approval will allow you to narrow down your list based on what you can afford and make it easier to submit an offer.
- Make a list. Create a list of must haves and have nots. Once you know what items are non-negotiable it will be much easier to narrow down your list of homes to see. If it doesn’t have everything on the must have list and avoids everything on the have not list, then it’s made it past the first round of contenders. The more specific the criteria the better chance your realtor will have in helping you find your dream home.
- Focus on a location. Aside from picking the town or towns that you would be open to living in, determine what neighborhoods or areas of town also meet your criteria – this could include a school district, commute time to work or family, amenities, etc. You should spend some time exploring different areas – you might realize a neighborhood you thought you loved really isn’t ideal or you might find a new amazing area you never knew about. Location – Location – Location – it’s better to buy the smallest/least expensive house in a higher end neighborhood than the most expensive/biggest house in a lesser desired neighborhood. Keep resale values in mind, as they should also play a key factor in your decision-making.
- Pick a style. Every type of house has its own unique style. Do you want to avoid shared walls – remove condos and townhouses from your list. Do you want a house with no stairs – focus more on ranch style homes. Want a house with bedrooms on the same floor – avoid a cape style home. If you aren’t sure what style fits your needs, do a little online research to see what styles you want to rule out.
- Keep notes. After looking at a bunch of properties they all start to blur together. The best way to keep track is to take some notes and snap a few pics. Jot down your likes, dislikes, and anything that especially stands out. Document it with a few photos so you can remember why you loved that kitchen so much or hated the flooring in the bathrooms. We are a huge fan of taking videos on your phone!
- Focus only on contenders. Seems like simple advice but the water gets muddy really quick. If a house isn’t a contender or in your top 3 houses, then you should forget about it.
- Made a decision. If you have found your top 3 homes that meet all your criteria and you love, stop looking. At some point, you need to make a decision before the homes that are contenders get snapped up by someone else.
Homebuying can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to consume you. Want some additional tips on homeownership – we have a whole blog category dedicated to it – check some of our other posts out HERE!
Vice President, Senior Mortgage Lender
NMLS MLO ID: 532621