There’s more to buying a home than simply calling up a number on a “for sale” sign. Before you start shopping for curtains and hand towels, here are just a few tips when shopping for real estate.
1. Know What You Want
Make a list of “needs” and “wants” for your new home. Then print out several copies before you go driving through open neighborhoods. With each house or house tour, check off the appropriate boxes on your list. This will give you something objective to consider when you’re comparing and contrasting different houses at a later date.
2. Keep Your Finances Steady
Don’t make any big purchases in the six months preceding your real estate hunt. You’ll want lenders to look at your credit history and think that you’re a steady and responsible person who doesn’t do things on impulse. If you buy a boat in January and apply for a home loan in May, they might be a little wary of your stability.
3. Get Exact Measurements on Your Property Line
You don’t want any border disputes with your neighbors. Before you sign on the dotted line, be sure that you’ve received accurate, up-to-date information on how much land that your property actually covers. Don’t rely on things like uncut grass to tell you where one yard stops and another yard begins; there are dozens of reasons why they might be skewed.
4. Keep An Open Mind About the Future
Maybe you can’t afford your dream home right this minute. Did you know that companies like Fundrise want to create a system where you can invest in a home that you’ll buy several years from now? You’ll need to check out Fundrise reviews to see if it’s truly right for you, but this is just one example of outside-the-box thinking that can lead you to home ownership.
5. Ask About Total Costs
Many buyers are so worried about the price of the house itself that they fail to factor in things like property taxes, association dues and necessary repairs before move-in. These are called “sleeper costs,” and they can really put a strain on your budget. Do yourself a favor and have a frank discussion with your realtor about how much that you’ll be spending on the property.
6. Look Around the Neighborhood
Your dream home might not be located in your dream community. For example, it might be miles from conveniences like banks and grocery stores, or it might have a high concentration of dogs when you’re deathly afraid of the four-legged. Doing your homework in advance can save you from unpleasant surprises down the line.
7. Don’t Wait
Last but certainly not least, don’t wait around forever for a buyer’s market. While there’s nothing wrong with being a little patient and waiting for prices to fall, you don’t want to spend months and months obsessing over the right time to strike. This will only further entrench you in your current home while opportunities for change pass right on by.
These are just a few suggestions when looking for your next home sweet home. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that you feel confident in your choices, so continue your research until you think you’re ready to take your knowledge into the real world. Good luck!