Looking for a new home can be an exciting adventure. In fact, sometimes so exciting that we don’t always think of the basic guidelines to follow which will ensure we find the perfect home. With that in mind, here are 12 helpful tips for your house hunting process!
LOCATION: The location of the house that you purchase is arguably the most important factor to consider, as it’s the only thing about the house that you can never change!
COMMUTE: Consider how long your commute would be from the house to your job, schools and other regularly visited locations. Short commutes add up to big money savings over time.
SCHOOLS: If you have children (or are planning to), you’ll need to consider the school district. A great school district is often the number one reason more homes sell in one area versus another.
CONVENIENCE: If your home is located near places you shop or visit each week, that convenience can mean a lot. Consider your local grocery store, gas station, shopping mall, convenient store, etc.
RE-SALE: You may not be thinking about moving out of the house yet (especially considering that you haven’t even moved in!) but re-sale value is critical unless you are never planning to move. Will this new home be in a desirable location when you attempt sell it in the future?
FEATURES: Before you begin your home search, create three lists: Must-haves, Likes and Refusals. The ‘Must-have’ list would be features you can’t live without. The ‘Likes’ would be nice to have, but wouldn’t make or break the sale. And the ‘Refusals’ are things you absolutely don’t want. Knowing these things in advance will make your search time more efficient!
LENDERS: Take the time to meet with a few mortgage brokers or lenders in advance of your home search. You want to be sure that you can get approved for a loan, and to know the maximum loan amount. Then, look at homes in a price range that is slightly lower than your maximum, which will ensure that you stay well within your budget, or even leave extra cushion to do any necessary home improvements prior to moving in.
RECALL: Once you find a few homes that fit your criteria, create a checklist to take with you when you visit each home. Doing multiple walk-throughs can get confusing and blend together by the end of the day. The checklist can be as simple as the ‘Must-haves’, ‘Likes’ and ‘Refusals’, but should include a few extra fields for special items about each home. Take a camera or your phone and snap photos of each home so you have images to serve as reminders.
MEASUREMENTS: When you are considering purchasing a house, take measurements of the furniture that you currently have, and use those measurements in the potential new home. Buying a house is probably the most expensive purchase you will make, and if you find that you need to purchase new furniture as well, it could be an unexpected and overwhelming expense.
CABLE & INTERNET: Ask about cable TV and internet access. Find out the source, such as broadband versus satellite. Especially for those who work at home or rely on speedy internet connections, this can be a critical aspect. Some rural areas, especially, have limitations.
TEST: Turn on lights, faucets, stoves and more to ensure they work properly. Open and close garage doors and all exterior doors. Test cabinet doors and drawers for ease of use. Look underneath rugs for marks, stains and flooring issues. Performing simple tasks like this now could help you negotiate and save money during the buying process.
STORAGE: Everyone’s individual storage needs are different. Make sure that you have plenty of storage space for seasonal items, hobbies, extra vehicles, sports equipment and more.
THE RIGHT AGENT: Finally, the right real estate agent can be your secret weapon. At Michael Carr & Associates, we do the homework for you and help you narrow down your search for the perfect home. We also offer services which can protect you and allow us to serve in your best interest. For more information, see our Buyer’s Agency Agreement FAQ! Call us today to get started! 678-444-4110 (ext. 3).