Tips for Finding a New Home

Finding a new home is just like any other shopping expedition. It helps to know what you are looking for and how much you can spend. Doing a little bit of work beforehand will help you zoom in on just the house you want at the best price you can afford. Consider these tips:

1. Know Thyself

Understand the type of home you really want and what fits your personality. Do you prefer a new or existing home? A ranch or a multi-story? Are you handy and willing to do some work? Can you do the work yourself or will you need to budget for contractors?

2. Do The Research Before You Go Out to Look.

Make a list of the features you want most noting which are necessities or deal breakers and which would just be extras or "nice to haves". Identify three or four neighborhoods you'd like to live in and then hop on the internet at Realtor.com or PPAR.com to get a feel for what is available. Be careful about using other sites such a Zillow, Trulia, or Craig's List as these do not always have updated listings. You don't want to fall in love with a house only to find it is already under contract or even sold! Many of my clients have found the search website I set up for them very useful in staying on top of market availability.

3. Get Your Finances in Order

Generally lenders say you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. Gather your financial records and meet with a lender to get a prequalification letter spelling out how much you’re eligible to borrowYou may find the amount you are eligible for is much more than what you are willing to spend. The lender won't necessarily know the extra costs you may have after purchasing a home like starting a family, buying furniture, or buying a new car. Know how much you are comfortable spending each month on housing. Also having your finances in order with a lender will make your offer more attractive to sellers.

4. Work with a Realtor®

There is no substitute for using the expertise of an experienced Realtor® when you are about to make one of the most important purchases of your life. Ask questions if you don't understand how your Broker works or how much it may cost. You may find that many of your reservations are unfounded and knowledge is power. Make sure your Broker is a Realtor® and a member of the National Association of Realtors®. NAR has been a champion of homeownership rights for more than a century.

5. Be Realistic

It’s OK to be picky about the home and neighborhood you want, but don’t be close-minded, unrealistic, or blinded by minor imperfections. If you insist on living in a cul-de-sac, you may miss out on great homes on streets that are just as quiet and secluded.

On the flip side, don’t be so swayed by a “wow” feature that you forget about other issues -- like noise levels -- that can have a big impact on your quality of life. Use your priority list to evaluate each property, remembering there’s no such thing as the perfect home.

6. Limit the Opinions You Solicit

It's natural to seek reassurance when making a big financial decision such as buying a home. But you know that saying about too many cooks in the kitchen. If you need a second opinion, select one or two people but always remain true to your list of wants and needs. No one knows you like YOU!                                                                                                                                                          

                                                           HouseLogic.com January 2015