Buying a house can be incredibly exciting, and it is considered a major milestone for most adults. However, nobody ever said house hunting was easy—in fact, the process typically contains numerous challenges that can put even the most balanced and optimistic people on edge.
However, there’s no reason to despair! You can reduce the stress and anxiety often associated with house hunting by taking an organised and proactive approach. We have come up with a guide that can help. Behold: our six essential steps to prepare you for house hunting, so that you can save time, reduce worry, and increase your odds of success.
The Six Must-Dos for House Hunters
Check Your Credit
Knowing your credit score is essential if you plan on making a major purchase of any kind—and buying a house is a prime example. Remember, you’re more than likely going to need a mortgage for the home you plan on buying. That means it’s best to get a mortgage pre-qualification. After all, the last thing you want is to try making an offer on a house and then find out you aren’t actually qualified to buy it.
Assessing your credit will help you figure out the interest rate you’re likely to receive on the mortgage you eventually take out. Don’t worry about credit checks and pre-qualifications lowering your credit score either. According to Credit Karma, these only constitute “soft inquiries” and will not have an impact on your score.
Learn to Budget
Before you actually take out a mortgage, you’ll need to have a clear idea of what you’re comfortable spending on payments each month. For that reason, you’ll need to know how to put together a budget for yourself. A budget should tell you exactly what size of monthly mortgage payment you can afford, which will in turn help you avoid getting in over your head. You might technically qualify for a more expensive home than the one you’re looking at—but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to afford the payments, which can cause problems down the road.
Seek Out a Trustworthy Real Estate Pro
Choosing your real estate agent will be an essential part of ensuring that your house hunt is carried out correctly. Your REALTOR® is the person who will guide you through the market, help you avoid bad deals and identify good ones, and fight for your interests at the bargaining table—at least, that’s the idea. They should also have a strong head for numbers, and an honest disposition. These qualities will allow them to inform you about potential repair and upgrade costs on any houses you’re thinking about buying.
One excellent way to find strong help in real estate is to look for an agent or broker who comes highly recommended by people you personally know and trust. Personality counts for a lot in the real estate business, so you want someone who you feel gets you and cares about helping you find the home of your dreams.
Arrange Your Priorities
What do you actually want in a home? More importantly, what do you know you absolutely can’t live without? Furthermore, are there any potential deal-breakers for you when house hunting? Make a list of all these features before you start looking at houses. Otherwise, you’re liable to be overwhelmed by the first home you see. Stick to your guns and know what you want ahead of time. It will help you from being talked into something that doesn’t truly meet your needs.
Determine Your Ideal Market
Are you looking for a place in your current neighbourhood, elsewhere in the city, or an investment property somewhere else entirely? Knowing the answer will help save you immense amounts of time during your search. They say it’s good to cast a wide net when you’re looking for most things, but homes are an exception to that rule. Keep your net narrow so that you can limit your search to areas you actually want to own property in.
If you plan on living in the home you’re going to buy, think about the neighbourhood—how clean is it? How safe? Are there plenty of nearby amenities and things to do? Is it a good place to raise children, or a good place to live once they’ve moved out? Those of you who want to buy an investment property should have different priorities: how are the markets in this area performing? Are they projected to grow over the next few years?
Put Away Some Savings
Lastly, remember that owning a house is not a one-time expense. Home ownership requires constant maintenance, especially if you plan on helping your home appreciate in value so that you can eventually sell it for a profit. As such, it is vital that you save up enough money to cover repairs and emergency expenses before you start looking for a home to buy.
Your path to home ownership will undoubtedly have certain obstacles that you must overcome along the way. However, you can prepare yourself to deal with them more easily by following the six preliminary steps above. Use these strategies whenever you are thinking about looking for a home, and you’ll find that the entire ordeal is much less complicated.