Our Real Estate Blog
Shopping for a new house can seem like an overwhelming experience because there are so many factors to consider.
The top priorities for the majority of house hunters include the quality of the school district, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and the overall condition of the house. Price is also a major consideration, as is square footage, commuting distance, and the character of the neighborhood.
In many cases, house hunters have specific requirements in mind, ranging from privacy to the layout of the rooms.
Although your search will be much more efficient if you know exactly what you want, the process of looking at houses will help you clarify your preferences, needs, and design ideas for your next home. Touring houses online and browsing home decorating websites can give you a lot of useful ideas, but nothing compares to actually visiting houses and taking a close look at everything the property has to offer.
Working with an experienced real estate agent is often the best way to find a home that checks off most of your priority items and meets your expectations. Searching the real estate market on your own is like going on a self-guided tour of a large historical site or tourist attraction. Without expert guidance, you could easily overlook some of the best aspects of the property, and you could also miss some "red flags" and negotiating opportunities that only a trained real estate professional could recognize.
Other than price, location, size, and property condition, what are other key features you might want to keep your eye out for? Everyone has different priorities and "wish lists," but when you know what you want, you'll be a lot more likely to be satisfied with the outcome! While there is no shortage of house hunting checklists online, here's a quick overview of some of the features and property characteristics you'll want to keep in mind.
Although you'll generally want to have a home inspector take a close look at any home you've made an offer on, there are a few key things you can notice before you even get to that stage. The condition of interior walls, the roof, and basement are three areas worth paying close attention to. Wet basements are not uncommon, but they can cause damage to your foundation and many things you might want to store there. Wet basements are also breeding grounds for mold spores, so a chronically wet basement can potentially be hazardous to your health, too -- especially if you or your family is prone to allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions. The Environmental Protection Agency is a good source of information on indoor air quality issues.
There are literally dozens of other details you'll want to pay attention to in prospective homes, including amount of storage space, the size of the back yard, privacy -- or the lack, thereof -- the house's distance from the street and other houses, the neighborhood noise level, the amount of street traffic, the reputation of nearby schools, and convenience to shopping centers, medical facilities, transportation, recreation, and entertainment. Other desirable features include a nice patio or deck, a garage, a fully functional HVAC system, updates to bathrooms and the kitchen, and enough room in the house for your growing family, overnight guests, and the occasional holiday party.
You know you want to pursue a home, and as such, likely plan to attend lots of house showings in the near future. Before you check out a residence in-person, however, it generally is a good idea to prepare as much as possible. That way, you can use a home showing to learn about a residence, evaluate a house's pros and cons and determine if a particular home is right for you.
Ultimately, there are many factors to consider before you attend a home showing, and these factors include:
1. Your Home Must-Haves
It often helps to make a list of "must-haves" prior to launching a house search. With this list at your disposal, you can narrow your home search and schedule showings for residences that offer the features you want.
You may want to put together a list of preferred cities and towns, too. This list will help you hone your house search to residences in cities and towns where you want to live. Then, you can set up showings to view residences in these areas.
2. Your Homebuying Budget
You likely have only a finite amount of money you can spend on a residence. If you start a house search with a budget in hand, you can search for homes that fall in line with your finances and schedule property showings accordingly.
Typically, it helps to get pre-approved for a mortgage. If you meet with a variety of banks and credit unions, you can learn about different home financing options. You then can select a mortgage and start to schedule showings for residences that correspond to your budget.
3. Your Homebuying Timeline
If you want to buy a house as quickly as possible, you may want to start scheduling home showings right away. This will enable you to find and relocate to a new home without delay.
On the other hand, if you can afford to be patient, you may want to take a wait-and-see approach to home showings. In this scenario, you may want to keep a close eye on the housing sector in your preferred cities and towns. Because if you do so, you can pounce at opportunities to view quality residences as soon as they become available.
As you get ready to pursue your ideal residence, you may want to hire a real estate agent as well. A real estate agent can set up home showings and offer tips and recommendations to help you streamline your house search. In addition, if you ever have questions during the homebuying journey, a real estate agent can instantly respond to them.
When it comes to home showings, it may be beneficial to prepare. If you consider the aforementioned factors prior to a house showing, you may boost the likelihood of finding your dream house. Perhaps best of all, you could speed up your home search and discover a great residence that you can enjoy for years to come.
Purchasing a home should be fun, memorable process. However, many homebuyers struggle with fears as they embark on the process of acquiring their dream homes.
Some of the most common homebuying fears include:
1. I will pay too much for a house.
Overspending on a house is a common fear among homebuyers nationwide.
If you pay too much for a house, you may struggle to afford the monthly payments for the duration of your mortgage. Perhaps even worse, your house may lose value over time. And if you eventually decide to sell your home, you may be forced to accept less than what you initially paid for it.
Ultimately, an informed homebuyer will understand the differences between a buyer's market and a seller's one. He or she will be able to determine whether a home is affordably priced and proceed accordingly.
An informed homebuyer also will know the importance of getting pre-approved for a mortgage. With a mortgage in hand, this homebuyer will understand exactly how much that he or she can spend on a house.
2. I'll wait too long to submit an offer on a residence.
If a homebuyer is uncertain about buying a particular house and waits too long to submit an offer, he or she risks missing out on this residence altogether.
Fortunately, there is a simple way to avoid this problem.
A homebuyer who knows what he or she wants to find in a dream home can narrow a home search. Then, if the homebuyer discovers a home that matches or exceeds his or her expectations, this individual can submit an offer right away.
Don't forget to submit a competitive offer, i.e. one that accounts for the needs of both a homebuyer and home seller, as well. A competitive offer will stand out from other proposals and increase a property buyer's chances of securing his or her dream residence.
3. I'll buy a home that will fail to maintain its long-term value.
What you pay for a home today is unlikely to remain the same over the course of several weeks, months or years. But a homebuyer who employs an expert home inspector can learn about a house's strengths and weaknesses and ensure a property is a viable long-term investment.
A home inspector will conduct an assessment of a house after a property seller accepts a buyer's proposal. At this point, an inspector will examine a house's interior and exterior and identify any potential issues. Lastly, a home inspector will issue a report with his or her findings, and a homebuyer will have a final opportunity to modify or rescind an offer on a house.
For homebuyers, it is important to work with a trusted home inspector – you'll be glad you did. This home inspector will go above and beyond the call of duty to evaluate a house before you finalize a home purchase.
Working with an experienced real estate agent may benefit a homebuyer too. With a top-notch real estate agent at your side, you can get the support you need to acquire a first-rate home that will maintain its value both now and in the future.
Purchasing a home may prove to be a long, arduous process, particularly for individuals who fail to prepare for potential house buying hurdles. Thankfully, there are several things that you can do to put yourself in position to enjoy a successful homebuying journey, such as:
1. Establish Realistic Expectations
Much in the same way that Rome was not built in a day, you should not expect to find and acquire your dream house right away. If you establish realistic expectations from day one of the homebuying journey, you can identify and resolve potential problems before they escalate.
Think about why you want to buy a home, where you want to reside and other homebuying factors. Then, you can make a list of homebuying goals and criteria. And once you have this list in hand, you can map out your quest to achieve your desired house buying results.
2. Get Your Home Financing in Order
If you find a home you want to buy but cannot quickly obtain financing for this residence, you may lose the house to a rival buyer. On the other hand, if you start a home search with a mortgage in hand, you could seamlessly navigate the homebuying journey.
To get pre-approved for a mortgage, you should meet with a variety of banks and credit unions. These financial institutions employ mortgage specialists who can teach you about all of your home financing options. Next, you can select a mortgage that enables you to acquire your dream residence without spending beyond your means.
3. Hire a Real Estate Agent
Oftentimes, it helps to hire a real estate agent prior to launching a home search. Because if you work with an expert real estate agent, you can gain comprehensive homebuying insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere.
A real estate agent understands what it takes to purchase a house in any housing market, at any time. First, he or she will learn about you and your homebuying expectations. A real estate agent then will craft a plan designed to help you identify your ideal residence. This housing market professional next will put this plan into action and ensure you can check out a broad array of quality residences. Finally, when you discover your dream house, a real estate agent will help you submit a competitive offer to acquire this home.
Let's not forget about the assistance that a real estate agent provides after a seller accepts your offer to purchase his or her home, too. At this point, a real estate agent will help you schedule a home inspection and finalize your house purchase. And if you ever have concerns or questions before you complete your home purchase, a real estate agent is happy to respond to them.
There is no telling what challenges you may encounter when you try to buy a house. With the aforementioned tips, you can minimize risk during the homebuying journey. Perhaps best of all, these tips could help you speed up your quest to find and purchase your dream home.
Want to transform your homeownership dream into a reality? Understanding what it takes to enter the real estate market successfully is paramount for homebuyers. With the necessary preparation, you should have no trouble purchasing your dream residence.
Ultimately, there are several steps that a homebuyer should take before he or she conducts a home search, including:
1. Perform Plenty of Housing Market Research
The housing market fluctuates regularly, and a buyer's market can change into a seller's market quickly. As such, you'll want to conduct sufficient real estate market research before you start your home search so you can streamline the process of finding the perfect house.
Consider where you want to live and whether you'd like to reside close to family members and friends. Also, consider how much space you'll need from a new home, along with whether you'd like to live near schools, playgrounds and other local hot spots.
Don't forget to check out the prices of a wide range of homes, either. By doing so, you may be able to determine the price range for houses that match your needs.
2. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
With pre-approval for a mortgage, you'll know exactly what you can afford as soon as you're ready to buy a house.
Banks and credit unions frequently offer a vast array of home financing options, making it simple for you to choose a mortgage that fits your budget. Fixed- and adjustable-rate mortgages are among the most popular choices for homebuyers nationwide. Meanwhile, you may be eligible for Federal Housing Administration (FHA) or U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) loans as well.
Reach out to multiple banks and credit unions to pursue all of the home financing options at your disposal. This will enable you to find the best mortgage based on your individual needs and enter the housing market with financing in hand to secure your dream home.
3. Hire an Experienced Real Estate Agent
There is no reason to enter the housing market alone. Lucky for you, experienced real estate agents are happy to help you find the perfect house.
An experienced real estate agent understands the ins and outs of the housing market and will share his or her real estate expertise with you. This professional will educate you about the real estate market and ensure that you know what to look for when you attend an open house.
Also, an experienced real estate agent will guide you along the homebuying journey. From the moment you spot your dream home to the day you finalize a purchase agreement, your real estate agent will offer the support that you need to go from homebuyer to homeowner.
Perhaps best of all, an experienced real estate agent will help alleviate your homebuying concerns. And if you ever have homebuying questions, your real estate agent will provide responses at any time.
Don't settle for a subpar home – follow the aforementioned steps, and you can move closer to discovering your ideal residence.