We know how overwhelming it can feel when you’re looking for a new home, but we are here to help alleviate some of your concerns. Here are eight tips to help you in looking for a new place.
1. Pick the Right Realtor
Picking the right realtor is the key when you are considering to buy a new home. The person you choose will decide which properties you will see and be responsible for negotiations with the seller and their agent.
It’s advisable to choose a local realtor as much as possible. For instance, estate agents in Jersey can assist buyers who want to buy houses in that area for smoother transactions. By doing so, buyers will save time, effort, and resources in checking individual listings and driving miles away just to find additional relevant information about their prospective property. So, what are the other things you should look for when picking the right realtor?
You should look for a realtor who is focused on building a solid relationship with you, someone who is willing to listen to you and fight for what you want, rather than push their own agenda.
An Important thing to consider when choosing a realtor is looking at their online presence. Do they have a lot of listings? Do they regularly close sales? According to Real Estate Bees, a national real estate marketing technology pioneer, agents that have a good online presence, attract more customers and close more deals, which means they are more efficient and have more experience.
Don’t forget to check reviews in online directories about each agent you are considering (reviews on their official sites don’t count, as, obviously, you will not find negative ones there).
2. Make a List of What You Want in a Home
Whether you are buying a home by yourself or with a partner, you need to know what matters to you. Do your hobbies or professional activity require any particular type of room or area? Do you need more indoor space in general? How about the yard? For example, if you are dreaming about adding a swimming pool, check if there is enough space for it, so you will not violate the building code. Make a list of your preferences and use it to estimate how well a considered property fits your needs.
Once you have a list of everything you want in your dream home, it’ll be easier to narrow down your choices when comparing and choosing from several properties. You can cross out prospective properties that don’t have the amenities you have on your list. Hence, creating a list can help you save time and effort and make an intelligent choice.
3. Pick a Good Location for Your Family
Consider the location you want to live in. Do your research about the area to find out helpful information such as:
The School District
If you are moving with your kids, it’s important to learn about the schooling options in the area. Use sites like schoolgrades.org and read reviews on Google about particular schools before choosing one for your child.
Clinics and Hospital
How far is your prospective property away from the nearest hospital? Asking this question is important because you want to ensure that your family’s access to a hospital and health services is quick and easy. Besides, you’ll never know when an emergency or life-threatening situation will arise.
Having good access to government services will enable you to process permits and licenses faster and maximize the taxes you pay. You’ll find out the latest government services you can take advantage of to save you money and safeguard your family’s safety and well-being.
Easy commuting is another important factor, as you don’t want to lose hours in traffic just to get to work and back.
Shopping and Entertainment
Research the area for local amenities, shopping, and entertainment options to make sure you aren’t going to get bored in your neighborhood or travel a long distance to have fun.
If you are free to choose a state, don’t forget to check the property tax rates in advance to avoid a bad surprise after buying a house. For example, Texas has the highest property tax rates in the USA (here is why).
Where to Find This Info?
To help home buyers learn more about a city or a neighborhood they are considering to move to, many real estate companies create helpful guides that explain particularities of different neighborhoods and cities. Here are the examples for neighborhoods in Houston, TX area.
4. Get Pre-Approved for a Loan
Until you are approved for a loan, you may not know what amount your budget needs to be. If you want a house that costs more than the loan amount, you’ll have to come up with the cash for the difference. Being approved for a loan during the property transaction can complicate it, increasing its time for more than a month.
Sometimes you don’t know about possible obstacles, such as underestimated issues with your credit score preventing mortgage lenders from approving you for the amount you want. Home sellers and their agents understand this, so they give preference to buyers who have been pre-approved. This is particularly important if the location you are considering is currently in a seller’s market.
5. Consider the Cost of Future Home Improvements
What is the current age and condition of the house you are looking at? Think about the future expenses you may have to improve the house. Are there things you need to change right now before you move in? Will you need to consider adding onto the home in the future as your family grows? The house may be in your price range, but the upkeep may require greater output then what you have to invest.
6. Look at The Condition of the Appliances
Look at all of the appliances that the seller is offering in the price of the home. Make sure that the appliances work and ask the seller how they have performed in the past. You may not change your buying decision off of old appliances, but at least you will know pending costs in your future. After you have spent all of your savings to buy a home, you don’t want to move in and find that you need to buy a new stove.
7. Look Beyond the Decor
Sellers are going to present a home that is decorated in the best possible light. However, take into consideration how your furniture and decor will fit into the space. My friend, a successful property investor, shares his expertise: “You should note that most sellers will remove furniture, pictures, and anything that makes the area look cluttered. It’s Home Staging 101. The rooms will look way smaller than they are once you get your furniture in. Take a tape measure and write down the measurements so you can come up with a basic floor plan if you were to move in.”
8. Decide What Your Deal Breakers Are
While you will probably have to compromise on certain things when house hunting, you should always find out what you aren’t willing to budge on. If you love entertaining, but the home has no backyard or extra bedrooms, it probably isn’t going to work for you. It’s ok for you to have deal breakers. This is a home that you will be purchasing, so don’t feel bad for passing on something that you don’t love.
Make sure that your realtor knows what is on your list that you aren’t willing to part with. Houses are sold every day, so don’t doubt that you will find one that is right for you. It can take time, but it’s important to be somewhat picky when it comes to a large purchase like this. Relax, grab a coffee, and start your research.