It’s the American dream that you may have thought about for a significant chunk of your life – finding and buying your own perfect home. And while it can be quite a rollercoaster ride to find the perfect home, there are a number of things you can do to make it easier on yourself from the beginning of the process to closing.
When you’re ready to buy a house, set yourself up with the right lender first. A full pre-approval letter that states your income, assets, and debt have been confirmed by your lender makes your offer much more attractive to sellers and their agents than just a pre-qualification letter.
Take this extra time to gather your tax documents, bank statements, and pay stubs so that your lender can issue a full pre-approval. Most lenders can do a soft credit pull that won’t affect your credit score. Figure out your price range here, since this will make the buying process much easier later.
Create your list of needs and wants
Next, set up two separate lists: needs and wants. Needs are things that are absolutely necessary in your new home. Wants are things that would be nice to have. Typically the needs list doesn’t change at all over time whereas the wants list constantly evolves during the house hunt as you see more and more properties online and in-person.
What kind of house are you thinking about – do you need a single family home or a condo, do you want something with a shared wall or no, how many floors, rooms, bathroom, garage spaces do you need, what neighborhoods and school districts do you like? These are all things you should consider when it’s time to buy.
You will probably never find a home that has every single thing you want, unless you build it yourself. But you should be able to find a house that has most of the things you want, so it’s important to be flexible about wants and not on needs. Lack of a “want” is not a deal breaker, but lack of a “need” very well could be. If you can find a house that meets all of your needs and hopefully some, if not most, of your wants too, it’s possible that you’ve found the right home.
Find a great real estate agent
Once you’ve set up your pre-approval and your checklist, now you need an agent that knows the neighborhoods you’re searching, has the experience that will ensure you get what you’re seeking and understands your budget, can help you navigate open houses, and understands the market and how to submit the best offers with the right leverage to get you the house you want.
When choosing your agent, make sure you check out the agent’s online reviews, ask them how much they will get paid, look at their experience, and agree on important details such as communication methods and your motivation to buy a house. Above all things, consider experience first, everything else is secondary.
Check out online homes
Once you have your agent lined up, preview properties online on your own, so you can see how your checklist works with wants and needs for the houses that might interest you. Technology has come a long way. A lot of listings have great online details, virtual tours, video content, and other features to help you screen properties.
With online research, it’s easy to reduce the number of homes you have to visit, and you can weed out the ones that don’t meet your needs. You’ll probably start with a wide search area of hundreds of houses for sale. Then when you use the Internet to screen them based on size, price, appearance and location, this will reduce the houses you want to see in person to a much smaller number of houses. Now you’re ready to do some actual house hunting.
Drive around some different neighborhoods
No house will ever feel like the perfect house until you know exactly what neighborhood you want to live in. If you’re still trying to narrow down exactly what neighborhood you want to live in, set aside a few hours and drive around a few different neighborhoods to get a feel for which ones you like and don’t like. Pay close attention to their proximity to schools, work, grocery stores, etc.
Get a home inspection
No matter what the condition of the home looks like, avoid any potential unpleasant surprises later and get a home inspection by a licensed home inspector. A good home inspector can tell you everything from the age of the roof to potential problems you might have with the water heater down the line.
The right professionals to help you with your offer
Home buying with Trelora gives you a distinct advantage because we split our buyers’ agent commission with you, which means you’ll have an average of $7,500 in commission refund to use as you wish. As a home buyer, you can use that refund to furnish your new house or cover closing costs. But also we have top-rated agents that provide exceptional service, whether you need to search for the right house in any type of market, consider an offer, run comps, and close the deal.