Buying A New House 10 Tips to Help Get You Started
1. Decide where you want to live. This is a general area be it a town, within a specific school’s district, or within X number of minutes or miles from where you work. You might find that you start out with a larger area lets say a county but then realize that only certain cities within that county offer the amenities you really want. Remember this is a starting point and you need to start somewhere when trying to determine what is available.
2. Figure out your budget. How much are you willing and able to spend on this new house? Will you be paying cash, looking for a mortgage for 80% or less of the cost of the house, or do you need complete financing? But remember even if you finance the entire cost of the home you still need to be able to cover the monthly rent which means you have to be able to show income over and above that amount. It is also a good idea to get pre-approved for a mortgage of any type your realtor will be able to recommend someone to you or you can speak to your bank to see if they can help you through the process.
3. Come up with a list of your top 3 most important things about where this house is physically located. You already have a general area of where you want to live but now you need to figure out locations you will NOT want to live. This could be next to an airport, in front of train tracks, on a busy street, on a mixed commercial residential street. Only you know what will bother you or upset your lifestyle. Planes flying overhead at 11pm might not matter to an older couple but the planes lading and taking off would wake up your new baby. A busy street might not be a problem to someone with no kids or pets but could spell disaster if a dog accidentally ran out the front door or a child ran into the street to get a ball. A heavy sleeper might not care about train tracks while someone who works nights and needs to sleep during the day would constantly be woken up.
4. Determine how many bedrooms you absolutely need. If you have 4 kids a 2 bedroom house will not work for you but a 3 bedroom with lots of other living space might if you were planning on having 2 kids per room. On the other hand a 2 bedroom house might work for an older couple especially if there is a separate office or crafts room and nice big sun room.
5. Square feet (or in Europe square meters)? How little is too little and how big is too big? Sure you can have a 3 bedroom house that is 1400 square feet but that is going to be a pretty tiny home and either your living space or your bedrooms will be very small. On the other hand a family of 3 might get swallowed up by an 8,000sq ft home unless you have several pets, you work from home, or are planning on having your parents come stay with you for several weeks at a time.
5. Now that you have some idea of what you are looking for do an online search for a home in your price range and take a day or two to drive around to check out the outside of the houses and physical neighborhoods they are in. This will help you narrow down which houses you actually want to do inside. It will also knock out entire streets you have no desire to live on or find hidden gems that weren’t listed in your initial search.
6. What features of a home matter the most to you? Pick 3 or 4 features that are game changers for you. Whether it is you absolutely have to have a fenced yard, garage, and swimming pool let your realtor know so that they can expedite the search for you. A fenced yard and swimming pool are technically things you could do once you move in but maybe you don’t want to have to bother with them or spend the money to do it after buying a new house.
7. Once you have your lists call a realtor and ask if they can help you set up appointments to look at some homes. The best way to find a realtor you will like and can trust is through friends and word of mouth. If you are moving to a new area call the realtor on one of the homes you are interested in and ask them if they can help show you around the community and book appointments to see the houses on your list. Tell your realtor the truth about what you are looking for, your time frame, and your price range. They are there to help you while you are buying a new house. There will be plenty of houses that you drive up to and realize the house is not exactly all you hoped for. As long as you have been honest your realtor will not be upset.
8. Be Realistic. This is a home that you will hopefully be living in for many years. Chances are this is not your dream home – lets face it most people cannot afford their dream home with the indoor outdoor pool, the commercial grade kitchen, and a library to rival the Library of Congress. Only you can decide if it is the right house for you. Does it feel like it could be YOUR house? Or will you walk int eh front door and always feel like you are walking into someone elses home?
9. Go out and see as many houses in your price range and general physical area as appeal to you even slightly. You need to see as many homes as you can. You never know which one you will fall in love with.
10. Make a short list and an appointment to go and see the homes on your short list again. If possible ask your realtor to make appointments to see other homes in the neighborhoods even if they are above your price range. You want to know that you are getting a good deal for the house that will eventually be your home. Picture your own furniture in the house the current home owners will most likely not be leaving their personal belongings behind for you.
Bonus tip for Buying A New House
Don’t feel pressured to make an offer if you don’t feel ready yet. This is a huge decision and a giant investment and you have to feel like this house is your home. That it is something that you will feel comfortable in today and in the future. And remember when you do make an offer that you have to feel like it is the right offer on the right house.
Both of the homes used in the above image are currently listed via Georgia MLS as for sale in the community that I am going to be buying a new house. Here is the listing for the Dream Home and the listing for the home that is much closer to Pinterest worthy realityfor me anyway.The house used in the reality picture is super cute (very pin worthy) and I was greeted by a sweet long haired cat when I drove up with my realtor to check it out.