Your Essential Guide to House Hunting
Decide on your dream home with confidence using this all-inclusive guide.
Decide on your dream home with confidence using this all-inclusive guide.
At On Q Financial, our core mission is to make the dream of homeownership a reality for everyone. There are many parts of the home buying process that make people’s eyes glaze over, but this part, finding your dream home part, is when people’s eyes light up. If someone asked you sincerely what you wish for in your dream home, you’d probably get wrapped up in the excitement of the question.
Now, some first step questions you may be wondering are, “Where do I get started?” or “What features do I want and need in my perfect dream house?” In this article, we’re going to address everything you might need to know to answer the question, “How to find your dream home?” Don’t fret if you’re feeling the weight of this daunting task. Instead, let the momentum of the excitement of owning and living in your dream home catapult you into steady preparedness and action.
In other words, there is entirely no need to be nervous about the process of finding your dream house. On Q Financial is here to help. You can avoid any possible mistakes by reading this article and discovering the seven steps to finding the right home for you.
There is an endless amount of preparation that can go into finding a home, but in general, we recommend you spend a generous amount of time researching before you start.
Before you search for your dream home, you’re going to need to search for your dream real estate agent. It might be tempting to rush through the process and just choose the first realtor you find, however you must remember that a realtor is your partner in the home searching process. Your realtor will be the most experienced and knowledgeable person you’ll have while you shop for a home. Ultimately, your real estate agent is your life line. You wouldn’t settle on the first house you find, so you shouldn’t settle with your realtor choice either. The real estate agent you choose can be the difference between a frustrating, long and winded house hunt, or a delightful, simple process which ends with you purchasing your dream home.
One of the best ways to find a realtor is by asking people that you trust; ask family, friends and coworkers who they know, used and liked. You can also ask your mortgage consultant about referral partners they work with in your area. Many realtors get their clients through word-of-mouth and referrals. Search engines with reviews like Google and Yelp can also be of great help. We also have a dedicated blog on how to find the best realtor for you. Once you find a few realtors that you like, interview them! Remember that at the end of the day, your realtor works for you and is willing and able to help you find exactly what you’re looking for. Make sure to identify what is most important to you in a new home, and discuss this with them.
Head over to our How to Find a Realtor page here for more info! Are you looking out of state or don’t have time to meet in person with a realtor? Finding a realtor remotely is an option as well.
Staying organized during this process will help you find the home of your dreams. Begin by documenting your needs by both neighborhoods and houses. Using these lists, try to decide what specific neighborhoods have both your community and amenity needs. Start with what you absolutely need at the top and add your negotiables to the bottom. You may want to consider factoring in remodeling as an option, with the knowledge that you will need extra income to do so.
After you have done your research and used different methods to collect all the information you know will be important for your home search, you are ready to start documenting. You will put together a list of the amenities you need and possible situations that you want to avoid.
As mentioned above, features inside the home are very important. One of the most personal and exciting parts of the buying a home process is determining your must-have features. You’ll need to consider everything from interior design to simply structural design. This part of your research will allow you to express your personal style through your home. More specifically things like the number of beds and baths, the kitchen, square footage, the yard and amenities will most likely make or break a home purchase. Factors such as roofing and building materials of the home will vary and must be considered. Design elements such as flooring, and counter tops are key to the style of the home and overall everyday feel.
You will have to consider the future such as growing a family, adopting pets, or having children go off to school, to determine huge elements like the size of the home. You will also have to decide if you are willing to remodel, which can be a difficult and expensive task. The truth is that there are truly so many features to consider when looking for your perfect home. At the end of the day, you want to find a home that will be a reflection of your lifestyle.
Just as the features of the home are important, the neighborhood is just as crucial. Looking into community governments and the economy in your desired area will affect you on a daily basis and must be considered. The proximity to work and family, as well as park and attractions that you enjoy will also play a factor in determining your happiness in a home. Based on your personal needs, looking at specific things like dog parks or schools in your area may be necessary as well. To find crime rates in your desired area, use this tool.
You’re ready to begin your house hunt when you have your finances in order and you are pre-approved by a mortgage lender. You should be casually investigating the market, but know that after you get pre-approved is when you can start looking for a house seriously.
Once you know what you can buy, and what you are looking for, the fun really begins. You and your realtor will begin walk-throughs where you can look at potential homes. It is important to let your realtor take the lead, and guide you through this process. Touring these homes will take hours and you may want to consider carpooling with your realtor to each location.
When you start looking for a home, you want to make sure you have thoroughly prepared and you have a great team to work with. Normally, it’s best to work with your realtor in locating homes that will fit your needs. This is where all that research will come in handy.
Once you find a home you want, you’ll begin the contract process.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions during this time. It is very easy to get influenced by the seller and over emotional about a property, but staying cool and asking questions will help you make an informed decision. Look inside cupboards and closets. You have the right to investigate your future home. Look at the walls and ceilings. Be sure to take a lot of pictures and videos. Let the space tell you how to feel. Look for things you might have to remodel and consider the costs.
Maybe you’ve had your eye on a house through a home searching site like Zillow and have been comparing 3 bedroom, 2 baths in your area. Shopping for a home online is another great way to start, and local realtors are available on those platforms ready to help. Search engines such as Trulia, Zillow, homefinder.com, and Realtor.com are trustworthy and high quality resources to search for homes for sale. Regardless of what website you choose, always make sure the listings have up-to-date property information. Using these websites offers an opportunity to investigate markets in specific areas, as well as give you plenty of ideas about what you might be looking for in a home. Make sure to notate what you like about the home that you look at, to help you narrow down your search.
Consider going to open houses and getting to know the areas where you are contemplating a move. Looking at houses in person will allow you to meet other members of the community, and get a good sense of what living there will be like. You will also be able to network, meet realtors, and get ideas for what you may want in the house that you end up choosing.
Open houses will become second nature to you after a while during the process of finding your new home. The question now becomes where to find open houses? Well, your realtor can help with that. If you’re on your own at first, open houses are constantly listed on websites like Facebook, Zillow, and Craigslist. A simple Google search for “open houses near me” will surely produce valuable results and you’ll be able to comb through the results with your needs like location, home size, and so on.
You’ll want to bring a checklist and a notebook with you to all the open houses you attend. This can be physical paper or a digital app on your phone, but whatever method you prefer, it’s imperative that you keep track of the homes you tour. It never hurts to take a lot of photos and videos as well.
Pass along your list to the realtor so they will have a full picture of what you want. It’s important to let your realtor take the lead.
Viewing homes can surely take several hours, so planning ahead with your realtor on a house hunting schedule will allow it to be fun instead of frustrating.
The day that you decide to do walk-throughs will be a long one. It will be important to stay relaxed and comfortable. Wearing comfortable clothing and shoes will make a world of difference on this day.
Don’t be afraid to do a thorough investigation during your walk-throughs. Look in cabinets, closets, on walls, and ceilings. Look for things such as visible drywall tape, tiles that are popping up, warping in wood, and things that indicate structural flaws that may need to be fixed. Take pictures and videos so that you can look back at them later. Most of all, be honest with yourself about how the space makes you feel.
Feel confident that you can communicate with your realtor and let them know what’s important to you. Don’t be afraid to let them know even the smallest details that are important to you. Aligning your goals with what your realtor will be showing you will make the process much smoother. They are a specialist and want you to be as honest as you can about your home wants and needs!
Sometimes it’s best to wait. Sometimes it’s best to act.
This will be when you create a purchase agreement with the sellers. You will be able to start the actual application process and lock in your rate. It is an exciting moment, because you are getting much closer to owning your dream home. The next phase of the process is getting your mortgage approved. This will require a hands-on approach in the beginning. You will have to prepare documentation and make sure you are ready for any conditions the underwriter might require. You can learn more about the mortgage process, including the paperwork required, in the next guide.