5 House Hunting Tips
These 5 house hunting tips can be used as general guidelines when it comes to the exciting, but potentially confusing and overwhelming prospect of searching for a new home. House hunting is hardly ever a short, clear-cut process, and hopefully the following list will act as cardinal points in this undertaking, which can be especially daunting for first time buyers. However, with patience and level-headedness at the forefront of your search, you may find the home of your dreams in no time.
- Get preapproved for a mortgage. It’s frustrating and ridiculous to only know an estimate of how much you can afford for a home. With the aid of a lender or mortgage broker, you’ll get a full assessment (which includes your household income, your credit, interest rates, the type of loan you select and cash you have ready for the down payment, closing costs and more) and a letter that states how much you are qualified to borrow. By getting this done and out of the way sellers will be more likely to take you seriously as a buyer and you won’t play guessing games with your finances or your preferences.
- Invest time to find the best possible real estate agent you can. Considering the amount of money you’ll be plunking down for a home, it's sensible to look to be guided by a professional; this especially applies to all first-time buyers. A patient and knowledgeable agent can add value to your home-buying transaction—he or she will carefully explain each step so you always know what’s happening.
- Know that location is key. Obviously, what you or another person consider ‘a good neighborhood’ can differ greatly, but most premium areas feature valuable amenities such as wide streets, plenty of attractive greenery and parks, peaceful cul-de-sacs, plenty of parking, and proximity to shopping, restaurants and transportation. Low crime rates, quality schools and neighbors that display beautifully-maintained homes and lawns add value to your location.
- Control your emotions during a house-hunting process.It is easy to get overwhelmed emotionally when searching and comparing abodes, but the better you control them, they better you are able to control the transaction and get a better deal. Comparing homes against a carefully analyzed checklist and enlisting the second opinion of your spouse, friend or family member will help you perceive potential homes objectively.
- Keep cash on hand for unexpected closing costs. To preserve your sense of sanity as well as your finances, ensure that you have enough money on hand to buy the home by estimating in advance all of the costs you need to pay at the time of closing. This includes moving expenses, insurance premiums, loan fees, legal fees and property taxes.