10 Key House Hunting Steps to Avoid a Major Headache

    House hunting, while an exciting process, can also be a very stressful one. Arm yourself with some information before you get started to help make the journey a little bit easier to handle.

    1. Mortgage Pre-approval

    In this market, houses are going fast. You want to be prepared with all the information you need to succeed. If you place an offer without a pre-approval, Sellers are more likely to pass over your offer thinking you aren’t serious. Sellers will often choose to go with someone who already is pre-approved for a loan amount that will fit with their home.

    Not only is having a pre-approval going to increase your chances of winning an offer, it also will let you know how much you qualify for so you can narrow down your list of homes that are feasible and that will make the task much more manageable.

    2. Hunting on Your Own

    You do not want to take on this task alone. From finding a house to making an offer, it is important to have someone you trust by your side. Houses are going quickly; a good Real Estate Agent can be the difference between getting your dream home and missing your chance.

    In addition to guiding you through the whole process, an Agent will be the first to see listings as they come on the market, meaning you will have the opportunity to be one of the first to consider the house.

    3. Wish List

    By narrowing down a list of features that you want to see in your house, you will be able to see streamline the selection process. If you know more about what you are looking for, you will be able to see more homes that offer those features without wasting your time on ones that aren’t going to fit your needs.

    4. See Listings As Soon As Possible

    If your Real Estate Agent calls to tell you about a new listing, and you are interested, do whatever you can to see it right away. Waiting even a day can be the difference between making the house yours or not.

    5. Invite Only Helpful Advisors

    Although you might really appreciate the opinions of your closest friend day-to-day, keep in mind the person who helps you choose a couch might not be the same person who should help you choose a house. People who are very outspoken can make the whole house hunting process more difficult than it needs to be.

    If you would really like a second opinion, try to bring along someone who will keep your needs in minds and will be able to provide constructive comments.

    6. Take Your Time at Open House

    An open house is your chance to check out everything. Make sure to take the time that you need to look in all those nooks and crannies.  Even though you will eventually have an inspection done if you choose to buy the home you don’t want to get to that point and realize there was an issue that would make you want to pass this one over.

    7. Keep Perspective

    When you walk in the door and everything is sparkling and new, you can’t help but fall in love. Try to look past the polish, just because something looks nice doesn’t mean it is. Often times with flips and remodels people will use products that look nice but are low quality to try to save money. Pay attention to brands, and sloppy jobs, you don’t want to end up with a house that is going to start falling apart shortly after you move in.

    8. Don’t Expect Perfection

    When you make your wish list prioritize items that are most important to you. While it would be wonderful to find the perfect house that meets all of your expectations, it just isn’t likely.

    More often than not you will need to compromise, so start thinking early about what you must have and how long you are willing to wait to find a house that meets all of your expectations.

    9. Decor is not the Home

    A stager is there to help you imagine all that a house can be, but don’t fall too deeply in love with the way a house looks with someone else’s decor. Try to imagine the home as yours, with your furniture and decorations. You might be able to try to replicate the look of the home while it is staged, but it just won’t be the same.

    When you look at any house, remember that the things that make it perfect need to be the things that are staying.

    10. Don’t Neglect the Neighborhood

    Buying a house isn’t just buying a house, you are buying into a community. Take your time to see the whole neighborhood, and what the community is like. Are people friendly? Noisy? Do they keep to themselves? If you have children do other families also have children? Will you be happy here long term? Just because the house is perfect doesn’t mean the neighborhood is.


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