Congrats! You completed the pre-qualification process – great job! It’s time for starting your home search! While you you have mostly been working with your mortgage lender up until this point, it is now time to pick up the phone and speak with your REALTOR®. This will be the person to help guide you down the winding road of finding your first home!
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- How many bedrooms?
- What is your price range? You were prequalified for $200,000, but that doesn’t mean you necessarily want to spend that much money!
- Are there specific school districts you would prefer?
- What size of yard do you want? Do you want a fence?
These are just a few items in a list that could go on and on when you are starting your home search. Sit down and write out a list. Do you prefer hardwood floors and no carpet? Write it down! Is a pool in the backyard a deal breaker? Write it down! The more information you give your REALTOR®, the better.
Next comes the fun part! Once priorities have been communicated and your REALTOR® has done some research, it is time to see homes in person! Your REALTOR® will provide basic information on each home, such as the year it was built, square footage, number of bedrooms, number of bathrooms, lot size, etc. As you are going through each home, take notes about features that catch your eye, both positive and negative. You will want to have something to go back and refer to when narrowing down your choices!
Notice the layout, walk it a few times, envision yourself living in this house. Notice the size of the rooms. How much work are you willing to put into the home? Is the work required cosmetic (paint, flooring, wallpaper) or is it structural (walls, stairs, floor plan)? Think about the yard size. Is the yard sloped or does it have a steep grade? There is a lot to consider!
Once you have narrowed your list down to three or four homes, schedule a time with your REALTOR® to view your top choices again. Take your time this time through – some of my clients have decided after the first visit that “this is it, this is the home.” Unless it is a home that is just going to fly off the market, I highly encourage clients to view the home a second time before making a final decision.
What happens if you have seen everything that fits your requirements and you don’t like anything? Hang on for the ride! Sometimes starting your home search takes some time. A house that wasn’t on the market today may be on the market tomorrow. Your REALTOR® will constantly be looking at homes new to the market and will keep you updated. You may see 30-40 houses before you find “the one.” My home buyer clients often apologize to me and say, “I’m sorry, we’ve seen so many homes.” Do NOT apologize! This is our job as REALTORS® and we are here to help. This is one of the biggest purchases you will make, and you should take your time, see all of your options and make an informed decision.