8 Tips to Take the Stress Out of Your Home Search
Beth KirtonSeptember 13, 2018
It’s time to go looking for your dream home, let the fun begin! This is an exciting time, for sure. But starting your search off on the right foot is crucial to finding and getting an offer accepted on your new house. If you’re a first-time home buyer, you may think that all you need is an agent and the internet and you’ll be off and running. Here are some things to keep in mind to maximize your home search process and minimize frustration.
1. Get pre-approved.
A professional buyer agent will not be willing to spend the time to find potential homes, accompany you on those showings and give you real estate advice unless it is established that you are a qualified, pre-approved buyer. A preapproval letter is your ante to play, and will give you the green light to begin looking for homes in earnest. If you’re interested in getting preapproved, this is a great place to start.
2. Hire a great buyer agent.
Finding a buyer agent who you click with is an important part of finding your home! You want to find an agent that you can be open and honest with and that you feel at ease sharing your goals and information with. Your buyer agent will be able to help you the most when the lines of communication are open, so look for traits that will give you the best odds of finding someone you’re comfortable with.
3. Be prepared before you set out.
You should be able to tell your agent which neighborhoods you would like to focus on along with your price range, must-haves, like-to-haves, and can’t-haves. This information will equip your agent to find the best options in the shortest amount of time and establish some clear criteria in your mind as you evaluate homes.
4. Go to the newest listings on the market first!
These properties will have the most competition, which means there may be plenty of offers made in a short amount of time. In a seller’s market, when new homes hit the market they typically stir up a frenzy of potential buyers. Try to schedule new listings as you soon as you hear about them. You can take more time with properties that have been on the market longer.
5. Make it easy to comparison-shop.
Categorize homes you want to see on a given day by neighborhood, area or county. This will allow you to make more effective comparisons. Also, try not to schedule more than 4-6 properties in one day. You want to be able to distinguish between each home when you think back on the day’s showings.
6. Don’t spend too much time at one property initially.
If you’re intrigued by a home you’re touring, it may be tempting to make sure everything checks out before you leave. But the time to ensure everything is up to snuff comes after an offer, during an inspection. Think of a showing as a first date, your purchase is the marriage.
7. Keep in mind, you might be on camera!
While you’re touring homes, it might not be the best time to discuss any information about offers or opinions on the house. You should assume that nothing is off the record when you are on someone’s private property.
8. Trust your instinct.
As a first-time home buyer, you’ll need some counsel and advice, of course. But choosing a house is a deeply personal decision for you to make. Don’t let an agent talk you into something that you don’t feel confident about, or out of a home that you’re positive is right for you.
The home search can be a fun and exciting time. With these tips, you’ll be a home search pro in no time. Happy house hunting!