House hunting is more like precision shopping. If you're sure about what exactly you want and are prepared to do some research, you can zero in on your dream home at the best price possible.
However, it's still important to keep an open mind about what is needed versus things that can be negotiated or compromised upon.
Here are some tasks to complete and things to consider that can influence the overall home buying process.
Define your deal
The first step towards picking and later buying a new home is understanding what your needs and long-term priorities are. The lifestyle a home buyer wants or wishes to lead in the future also plays a role in the decision making process.
You should draw a strategy on what exactly you need, like a new or existing home, a fixer-upper with a budget for contractors, or a ranch or a multistory home.
Do some research
The Internet is the main source of information for various property listings, but another helpful source you can use to your advantage is the local newspaper.
- Research via the internet
- You can browse through properties in your local area within the confines of your home (without manually inspecting them)
- You can shortlist a few properties that you like and arrange for an appointment with the agent or owner for viewing
- Check in your local paper
- There are no pictures, but you can find foreclosures near you with the best bargains and deals
- You can attend a foreclosure event in your local area to zero in on your ideal house.
Take care of your finances
Getting your finances straight is one of the most crucial steps before picking a home to buy. A pre-qualification letter from a lender details about how much you are eligible to borrow.
A budget detailing how much you are comfortable spending each month on housing might also come in handy. It is highly recommended to seek a second opinion when making a big financial decision. However, your final decision should be based on your wants and needs and what you think is important.
Think about your children
Families with children have to consider a lot of factors, such as whether the neighborhood has daycare, parks and local grade schools.
Realtors almost everywhere advertise about great schools but you need to focus your search on what exactly you need. Sometimes you might end up paying more property taxes for local perks that you don't need because of these schools.
Consider neighborhood associations
Neighborhood associations can be a boon or bane depending on the interests that you share with them. It is better to do some homework on such organizations, their membership fees, and the rules that they enforce before picking a home in such neighborhoods.
After narrowing your search to a few neighborhoods, schedule time to walk and drive around the area at different times during the day to get a true feel for the community. You won't have to deal with unwanted surprises with this kind of real-time research.
Unpredictable traffic patterns can severely disturb one's schedules. Commuting time and convenience to public transportation are two factors in choosing a new home in a new neighborhood.
Choose old versus new
Old homes have a certain kind of character that don't exist in newer neighborhoods. Although an old house has a majestic appeal, maintenance can be a chronic issue. In houses that are 50 or 100 years old whose construction methods have become extinct, maintenance can be exhaustive and is an almost everyday occurrence.
Get some realtor help
Picking and buying a home brings with it a lot of emotions and it is advantageous to recruit the help of a real estate professional. Ask people for referrals and interview these real estate agents to determine their know-how about the neighborhood.