Househunters on HGTV certainly makes it seem easy, don’t they? They tell their real estate agent what they are looking for in a home. Their agent finds them three properties that fit those needs. After three showings, they are under contract on their dream home. But reality is far from that simple.
Finding your dream home can take weeks and sometimes even months, depending on market conditions. However, there are a few things you can do to help yourself leading up to the buying that will making finding your next home easier.
Know your finances.
Before starting out on the search, it is imperative to get your finances in order, especially in a competitive market. You will want to determine what you can afford and how much wiggle room you have in that budget. Before you meet with your real estate agent, ask yourself:
- Am I pre-approved for a mortgage by a lender?
- What is my budget?
- Have I saved up enough for the downpayment and home maintenance and/or repairs?
- Am I able and/or will to do renovations or do I need a turnkey home?
Know your needs.
You may have the idea of what the perfect home is already in your mind, but make sure that picture is realistic. Consider your current lifestyle and what you want in the future, and then sit down and make a list of must haves as well as wants before you start shopping. Ask yourself questions like:
- How many bedrooms do I need?
- Will I need more in the near future?
- Do I need space for an office?
- Is a garage and yard necessary?
- Are stairs doable?
Choose a location.
You have heard the phrase “Location, Location, Location,” and it could not be more important when it comes to buying a home. You can change the color of the walls and even the location of the walls themselves, but you cannot change the location of the house. So consider this very carefully before setting your home search up.
- How close do I need to be for work?
- How close do I want to be to the city?
- Am I okay traveling 30 minutes to the grocery store?
- How close am I willing to be to neighbors?
- Is there enough activities going on around me (or too many)?
- How are the schools?
Talk to Your Realtor
Once you have your finances in order and a good idea of what you want in your dream home, you are ready to get your search started. Meet with your real estate agent and share with them your finances (at least what is critical for the home search), your needs/wants, and your desired location. Being upfront with your agent will make it much easier for them to help you find your dream home. We may be miracle workers, but we can’t read minds just yet!