Buying a new home can be tricky, especially if you’ve never done it before. Don’t fret, however. We’ve compiled a list of tips, tricks and techniques for both finding and evaluating property before you pack all of your belongings and move in. Here are just five steps for finding your forever home.
1. Determine Your Priorities
Make a list of your 10 biggest desires for your new home. It doesn’t matter if they’re necessities like square footage or luxuries like an outdoor pool and patio; if they’re important to you, write them down. Then slash your list from 10 to three. These three things are what to really look for when comparing and contrasting houses.
2. Branch Out
Make sure that you’re overturning every stone in your hunt for your new home. Don’t just rely on the emails that your realtor sends you; take the initiative yourself and look at auction sites, property listings and even social media postings. You never know where your dream house will be hiding.
3. Be Realistic About Your Budget
Before falling in love with a home that’s thoroughly out of your price range, create a budget that clearly lists things like your annual income, monthly expenses and potential mortgage rate. It will be easier to resist temptation when you have your financial numbers in black and white.
4. Look at the Community
You don’t want to buy a beautiful home that you can never leave because the crime rate is so high. Before moving your family into a new neighborhood, do some basic research about its livability. How many banks, schools and grocery stores are nearby? How many robberies occur each year? Do the neighbors seem friendly?
5. Take a Tour
This should go without saying, of course, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who are willing to make down payments on houses that they’ve never actually seen in person. Before you cut a check, make sure that you’ve physically toured the property and inspected it. Pictures can be staged and edited to look good, but reality doesn’t lie.
These are just a few tips for finding, selecting and appraising a new place of residence. Whether you’re looking for a mountain luxury home in Vermont or a stylish condo in New York, let these suggestions help you make the biggest real estate decision of your life.