Whether you are a first-time buyer or you are looking to upgrade or downsize from one house to another, searching for a new home is an exciting adventure. It can also be a nerve-racking experience to make sense of all of the steps and details involved in successful house hunting. Here are some tips and tricks to help make that process fun and stress-free.
1) Have your wish list in mind prior to beginning your search.
You probably already have a vision of the amenities you would like your new home to provide. Perhaps you want a big backyard with a privacy fence or a heated in-ground pool. Maybe the lack of an extra bedroom or a two-car garage would be a dealbreaker for you. Ensure that you have your wish list handy before you work with your real estate agent. Having this information ready will help your agent know what particular homes might be compatible for you. Important things to include on your list are your desired floor plan, home size, number of rooms, storage space, landscaping, and lighting.
2) Make sure that you have enough money saved up for several purposes.
Buying a new home is a major investment. Many costs may not seem obvious, but it's important to keep in mind the different funds you will need to have available to complete your home purchase. Try to become as debt-free as possible before you start looking at any houses, and establish enough of a savings nest egg to cover at least three months' worth of bills and other expenses. Another fee that you should set aside money for is the down payment. In order to secure mortgage financing, your down payment (usually around 20% of the total home cost) is your contribution to the borrowing process, so it's essential that you budget for this amount. You will also need to prepare for closing costs. Your lender will give you the exact dollar amount for closing, and this money will typically cover the home inspection and appraisal, attorney fees, and homeowner's insurance.
3) Do your research.
During your hunt for a new home, there are more factors to consider beyond price and the house itself. You also want to make sure that the neighborhood you settle into is in an area that makes you feel comfortable and safe. Take the time to fully research the community of any home that you are curious about before you put in an offer. Explore the neighborhood, attend an open house, and look for the statistics about crime rates in the area. If you have children, don't forget to inquire about the quality of the local schools. Ask your real estate agent about the home's proximity to parks, entertainment, and other points of interest. You should also think about the commute times to and from your workplace when determining if the home is in an ideal location for you.
House hunting can be fun! Get your savings ready, select your real estate agent, and you'll be all set to purchase your new home in no time.