So, you’re finally ready to start looking for that dream house. Of course, this process isn’t going to be an easy or quick one, unless you’re very, very lucky. New houses can be a tricky business, especially when you have family members and several important factors to think about.
Why is Finding The Right Home So Hard?
Finding the right house to purchase means that you have to check out many aspects of the place, both inside and out. Home buyers might place importance on a large dining room and central air conditioning, but the right location is also a key factor.
This could mean that the new house should be in the right school district or that public transportation should be within walking distance. Some families or individuals will even require a decent yard space. The essential factors will change according to the requirements and monthly budget of home buyers, so the perfect house will also depend on them.
How to Find The Right Home For You
Before you set out on your home search, consult your real estate agent and make sure you’re both on the same page. Tell them what you want; a single-family home, a bachelor pad, or a mansion for your extended family.
Real estate agents should also have some idea about your personal finances. It wouldn’t hurt to share a few details about your general lifestyle or whatever you’re aspiring to with this new house. This way, they can make sure to show you options in a convenient location.
So, how should the house hunting process go? The search can get overwhelming, especially with the high demand for single-family homes.
Wondering where to start? The following tips should come in handy, especially in a hot real estate market.
1. Consider The First Rule: Location
A good location is often the first rule when buying and investing in real estate. This is one key factor that will determine affordable price ranges, the length of your work commute, and the school district for your children.
Factors to Consider when Deciding on Location
When you’re deciding what your location should be, consider the following factors:
- Urban area or the suburbs: Urban areas will provide easy access to stores and many other conveniences. In the suburbs, you can get a proper backyard space and a quieter lifestyle.
- Proximity to the workplace: Commutes can take hours or be just a few minutes depending on where you choose to live.
- Public transportation access: Do you need this regularly, such as for work or school, or just for occasional trips?
The above considerations may not be an exhaustive list, but it does cover most of the common factors one has to consider while house hunting.
With work from home setups becoming more common, though, the need to consider work commutes and public transportation might go down. With that said, if you don’t have your own ride, public transportation is still a major consideration in case of an emergency (medical or otherwise).
2. The Various Types of Homes
If you don’t know this already, the process of house hunting will soon show just how many types of homes there are on the market. Even a single-family home can have many options, with its own pros and cons to consider.
Let’s check out the various homes you will probably come across and consider their ups and downs now:
These are usually the largest kind of real estate for retail purposes. They give you space, privacy, and a whole lot of responsibilities as well.
With single-family homes, you’re the one who has to undertake every bit of care and maintenance. This includes raking the leaves, paying all the utility bills, maintaining the fixtures, raking the yard, and many other tasks.
A Free-Standing Townhome
Townhomes are usually less expensive than single-family homes, so first-time buyers may want to consider them first.
Another upside here is that the outdoor maintenance is somewhat limited. Since you share a wall with your neighbors, you may split some of the costs and responsibilities as well.
Many townhomes are located in a community. It’s a good sign if they have playgrounds and parks nearby for the kids.
Of course, the lower price does come with a smaller space. You get more stories, which may or may not be a good thing according to your lifestyle.
Finally, the shared walls may reduce your privacy. This may also cause disturbance from noisy neighbors. Keep in mind there are differences between townhouses and condos that are worth knowing. You may prefer one housing choice over another due to these nuances.
Manufactured or Factory-Built Homes
Manufactured homes are relatively new to the market, but they’re a lot like traditional houses. With this home purchase, you can expect permanent foundations, inbuilt porches, and even garages with some models.
Some people tend to use the terms “mobile homes” and “modular homes” interchangeably. However, mobile homes are assembled within the factory boundaries while modular homes are assembled on their designated site.
The difference between the two types pretty much ends there, but you may have some extra money left over if you go for these affordable options. While a thorough inspection is always essential, anyone on a budget should check out local mobile homes for sale, for example, for a decent place that won’t break the bank.
A condominium can provide a peaceful lifestyle without actually having to go for an apartment, and they’re typically available in an urban setting.
With condos, you don’t have many other immediate neighbors to deal with. At the same time, you might get amenities such as large dining rooms, gyms, and pools in the building. Public transport, shops, and restaurants are also likely to be within a walking distance.
With that said, the maintenance and amenities fees will be a standard part of your monthly expenses. There may also be some rules and regulations set by the homeowners association, so be prepared to play your part. On the upside, you might find some like-minded folks to play Super Bowl squares!
3. Make a Wish-List
Once you establish the home type to look for, as well as the location, it’s now time to determine the deal-breakers and indispensable features.
How to Make a List of Priorities for Your New Home
The best way to start this list is to look at your living situation now. What factors do you want to maintain in your life? Good schooling for your kids, some outside time, and a short work commute might come to mind.
What kind of a lifestyle do you envision for the future? You might be planning a family or want to move out on your own. The possibilities in the market are endless. So, narrow down just what you want and need before starting a search.
4. Arrange The Finances
In the U.S. at least, not many people have the finances to buy a house in one go. Therefore, it’s wise to make an analysis of your available finances beforehand.
Lending services provided, such as those by Rocket Mortgage Lender or other mortgage industry leaders, could help you make it to your dream home. It would help to discuss mortgage basics right away, including closing costs, current mortgage interest rates, and expected monthly mortgage payments.
Make sure to look up Rocket companies for a bit of guidance before taking the plunge on any new home. It will also be prudent to have a checklist of what not to do before closing on a home so that you don’t find yourself with regrettable problems.
5. Do Your Own Research
Nowadays, you don’t have to rely on a real estate agent to get the house of your dreams. There are several websites that can help you find just what you need. You can check them out here:
- Rightmove: This is one of the best online platforms for comparing various homes. It has a lot of listed properties at any given time, with a Google map showing all the listings for your convenience.
- Zoopla: This website helps potential buyers match sold prices with previous property ads. This will help you get an idea of how much a property will actually sell for, rather than just going by the list purchase price.
- OnTheMarket: This site has several rules for its members, including a restriction on how many portals one listing can join.
- Home: This is a somewhat clunky site, but it has loads of useful data for house hunters. One especially useful feature is the comparison of the asking prices within one postcode and town.
Believe it or not, more and more people are even buying homes remotely.
6. Explore the Neighborhood on Foot
When you manage to narrow down your choices, do check out the surrounding area before making any deals. Even if a house seems like the perfect choice, a bad neighborhood can make you regret living there.
The best way to scout out the neighborhood is to set out on foot yourself. Visit the nearby parks; check out the kinds of people that are there. See if the cars are clean, if there’s any graffiti on the walls, and whether the local shops seem fine.
If there’s some reason why you can’t visit in person, check out some reviews on Google Maps and other platforms. You’ll hopefully get some genuine feedback from locals that will show what the neighborhood is really like.
7. Find An Excellent Real Estate Agent to Work With
While doing research on purchasing homes on your own has never been easier, it still makes sense to work with a top-notch agent. You’ll want to find a local buyer’s agent who has been in the business for a while. There are so many benefits to working with a Realtor that shouldn’t be ignored.
The right house for you is out there, it just may not be the first one that your real estate agent comes up with. Single-family homes are in great demand right now, so you do have your work cut out for you with the home buying process.
The above tips will hopefully make your home search a bit easier and less confusing. So, try applying them today!
About the author: About the author: The above article on how to find the right home for you was written by Justin Becker. Justin is a property owner in the state of Michigan and has a passion for managing communities. He owns both apartment complexes and mobile home communities and has been writing his own blogs for his properties for several years.