Buyers in today’s real estate market are facing some shifting market conditions. If you are starting your home search, take note of the tips below to help make the process smoother and to ensure you are ready to start the search for your new home. They are not in any particular order, so you can do them in your own fashion.
- Know Where You Want to Live – Researching towns and neighborhoods is vital in the home buying process. Before you start going out to open houses or viewing homes, take some time to research the area amenities that you desire. Check out the local schools, shopping, transportation needs, etc. Also, check with the local police department on what areas are having issues with crime. And then drive around. Driving through neighborhoods will give you the most information in your home search because it will tell you who the neighbors are, you will gain a feel for living there and understand if the neighborhood offers you the things you want such as a community pool or walking trails
- Get Your Pre-Approval – meeting with a lender can be a frightening experience as all your financials are out there for them to see. But there is so much valuable information that you can gain by meeting with the lender and its a required step as part of a home purchase, so mark that off the to do list as soon as possible. The lender is going to help you understand what kind of loan and how much you qualify for. This is important information as you will walk away with an understanding of how much home you can afford which will help you determine the areas you can move to. In addition, they will let you know how much money you need to have
- Interview a realtor – Once you have a sense of where you want to live and know how much house you can afford, you should find a realtor who you not only feel comfortable working with, but who you have confidence in while you purchase your home. Friends and family are good sources of referrals if you don’t know someone. You can also check your local board of realtors or social media for agents who demonstrate strong local and professional knowledge.
- Make a list of your wants/needs in a home. Do you want a garage? Do you need to be in a certain school district? How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? How much land do you need? Do you want a community pool?
- Educate yourself on the process. Your realtor can help you understand the process and what to expect, but it never hurts to know more about the area market and what is happening with rates, home sales, etc.
This will hopefully give you a strong start to the home buying process. If you need any help or have questions, feel free to reach out to me. Sonja Adams – SonjaAdams@kw.com