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Shopping for a home should be a pleasant experience, as would-be homeowners have a chance to explore their options and decide which communities and home features will best fit their needs. However, there are times when home shopping is stressful. When homebuyers don’t do the required research prior to starting their search, problems frequently develop. So, what can home shoppers do to make the buying process easier? Here are five steps home shoppers can take to make sure they find the ideal property.
Before setting out to find a new home, it’s always a good idea to review your finances and determine how much can (or should) be invested in a home. Put together a list of all your monthly obligations, and take the time to visit a lender to determine what type and size of mortgage will be affordable. The lender will review the various options and help buyers establish a price range for their new home. In today’s competitive housing market, it’s also crucial to be preapproved for a mortgage. Many sellers won’t even entertain an offer if the prospective buyer hasn’t already been approved by a lender. If you’re looking for a home, setting a budget is an absolute requirement.
Here’s another place where creating a list is helpful. Jotting down a list of “must-have” amenities makes it easy to eliminate neighborhoods that won’t fit your family’s needs. If quality schools are a must, take the time to review the educational options in a specific area to determine if nearby schools will provide the educational opportunities required. Shopping options should also be discussed, as no one wants to buy a home in a food desert or be too far from other forms of shopping opportunities. Of course, commuting is also an issue. Avoid areas that require long commutes to work whenever possible.
A home that appears to be ideal today may not be as wonderful in the future. For example, if you have a growing family, is there enough space for more children, or would adding a child require building an addition? Is the neighborhood transitioning from one type of owner to another? In other words, is the home in an area where few children are present or where too many homes are being converted to rental units? In addition, would the home be suitable once you retire? If not, what are the odds it would sell easily in the future?
Staying close to other family members is important to a lot of people. Is the neighborhood close to family members? If not, are you willing to travel farther to visit them? Consider whether those family members will be able to visit your home. Older family members or siblings with several children may not be able to travel long distances to visit.
Finally, does the family home feel like the right place for your family? Here, you have to trust your own judgment. Some properties simply feel comfortable the first time you see them. Others offer many of the qualities your family needs but don’t have the right “vibe.” Choose one that’s comfortable.
Of course, it pays to have a real estate expert help you find that ideal home. A good real estate professional will work with you to uncover the ideal home that will meet your needs both now and in the future.