When shopping for the right house to call home, you can be sure of one thing— if not prepared, it can be frustrating. This is true whether you do it alone or use a real estate agent. However, there are steps you can take that will take a lot of the frustration out of the equation, and you will ultimately find that you are viewing only the properties that have all the elements you desire for your new home. In essence, being prepared will save time and get you settled into your new home faster and with a bit less stress.
By following three simple suggestions, you will save time and frustration.
Before you call the REALTOR® or make an appointment with the home owner, make a list. Actually, make several lists. You will want a list of your must haves— this list contains the items that you simply cannot do without. Then you will want the Deal Breaker list— this will contain all the items and elements that you would find undesirable and cannot imagine living with. The third list is the "it would be nice list". This is the list where the items are not must haves, and are not deal breakers, but kind of like icing on the cake. Simply put, if the property has elements of the “it would be nice” list or not you would still be willing to take the time to look at the property providing your must haves are met. With these three lists you are now armed and ready to speak with your agent to set up a viewing.
What are you willing to spend on your new home? Make a trip to your bank or other lending agency and get pre-approved— when doing this it is important to remember to get your pre-approval for the maximum amount. If you are using an agent he or she may be able to even refer you to a lending institution. The bottom is with a price range in mind you will save time, energy and disappointment.
If you choose not to use an agent, bring paper and a clipboard and take notes— lots and lots of notes— if possible take digital photos of the property as well. If you are using an agent and they hand you a clip board and paper, then you have found yourself a keeper, as this agent is aware of the fact that after looking at several properties you may very well forget the details and finer points of each listing. Having your notes to review in private will help you to narrow down the choices and ultimately land you the house of your dreams.
Purchasing a home is a very exciting time— this is true whether it is your first home or your third, and by following the guidelines listed above the entire process will be much easier, more enjoyable and a lot less overwhelming.