The idea of moving into a new home can be especially exciting. The process of finding one, from the initial search to find the right neighborhood to all the effort that goes into a mortgage, may seem overwhelming. Use these four househunting tips to stay focused, organized and positive as you begin looking for a new place to live.
1. Paint a picture of your new home before you start your search
There are certain things that aren't negotiable when it comes to locating a new home. At the very least, you'll need enough bedrooms and bathrooms for your family, a location that works for both commuting to work and providing good educational opportunities for your kids and a home that can provide all of this without going outside of your price range. Financial and motivational speaker Dave Ramsey pointed out that failing to follow an upper limit on costs can mean falling in love with a house that is perfect in every way - except for an astronomical cost. Ramsey also suggested purchasing your home with cash - which often isn't possible - or making sure the monthly total mortgage cost, including insurance, homeowners' association fees and similar costs, doesn't exceed more than 25% of your total take-home pay.
Before you start looking at any specific listings, make a list of the things you'll absolutely need in your new home. You should also keep track of wants, but also recognize that they may not all be found during your house search. Along with figuring out the physical areas that address both school and work commute needs as well as your budget, these three factors will help you narrow down the homes you're interested in and keep you on track during the process.
2. Get home loan pre-approval before you start your search
Unless you can afford to buy a home outright, you'll need a mortgage to make a new place to live affordable. If you only seek out this home loan after you've found a house that checks off all of your boxes, you could end up waiting anxiously to find out if your bank or other lender will approve the mortgage. This can cause plenty of problems, up to and including losing out on what could be a great place for you and your family to live.
The Home Buying Institute suggested getting pre-approved for a home loan. This makes it much easier to know your budget, not to mention work with real estate agents and act quickly and confidently when necessary.
3. In almost all cases, find an agent
Unless you have plenty of real estate experience or the large amounts of time, energy and desire necessary to manage the entire process yourself, don't neglect the importance of a real estate agent. They have access to databases that the general public doesn't, knowledge of the local market, relationships within the industry and other crucial attributes. A dependable agent can steer you toward relevant options and avoid potential problems.
4. Focus on the home, not the staging
A beautifully staged home is attractive, but you won't keep the furniture, art and other items that make it look so good after you move in, as Realtor.com pointed out. Focus on things like the structural integrity and condition of the home and how you will feel living in the space with your own furnishings. Take time to picture the home without all the accouterments and make sure it's a good fit for you and your family.
Before you start thinking about moving to a new home, you need to find it. Once you've used these tips to choose a place that meets your needs, get in touch with the expert movers and packers at Atlas to make moving in as smooth of a process as possible.