Buying a home is one of the biggest investments many people will make in their lifetimes. Knowing this can make the home buying process intimidating, especially when you consider that you are looking for a place to call home. REALTORSÂ® understand this and can guide you through the process of finding your dream home.
Define your goals and search criteria
Work with your REALTORÂ® to decide what you want before beginning the hunt for a home. It is okay if you are not exactly sure what your ideal homes isâ€”your REALTORÂ® can help shed light on what you and your family may need. Write down features and qualities that are important to you in a home. You and your REALTORÂ® will work together to prioritize them and home your search. Be aware that your preferences might change as you look at homes; if this happens, you and your REALTORÂ® can simply make adjustments to the list.
Obtain the necessary paperwork
Before you start your search, your REALTORÂ® can help you choose a reputable mortgage company and obtain the documents needed to purchase your new home. You will want to get a pre-qualification or pre-approval letter from your mortgage company, as well as a truth and lending statement. The pre-approval letter gives your REALTORÂ® more negotiating power when placing an offer on a house, and the lending statement will give you an estimate of the mortgage and other closing costs. Be sure to ask when the interest rate quote on the lending statement expires so your REALTORÂ® knows the timeframe for closing the deal.
Consider the neighborhood
Form a check list of the amenities your ideal neighborhood would have. Popular features include pedestrian-friendly sidewalks, large lot sizes, low crime rate, public facilities such as parks and community centers, schools, and convenient transportation and well-maintained yards of homes in the area. Be sure to discuss your preferences with your REALTORÂ® so he or she can provide the information you need to make your decision.
Bring a camera
It is helpful to have some way of documenting what you like and do not like about the homes you tour. After all, it can be difficult to remember the specific features of each home after you have reviewed multiple properties. Your REALTORÂ® also serves as an extra set of eyes and will share what he or she sees with you.
Choose your favorite property
Call it “REALTORÂ® intuition,” but often REALTORSÂ® know when clients have found their dream home before their clients do. Each REALTORÂ® has his or her own process to help you pick the perfect property. The most common steps include:
Rating each property
As your REALTORÂ® shows you different homes, rate each property on a scale of 1 to 10. Use the goals and search criteria that you and your REALTORÂ® established in your initial meeting to determine which areas carry the most weight in your decision.
Noting the neighborhoods
Rate the neighborhood of property, as well. You may want to include features such as schools in the area or amenities within the community in your ranking system.
Combining your lists
Once you have established your ranking for each home and neighborhood, combine the two lists and see which properties meet your needs on both accounts.
Narrowing your search
It is likely that after viewing multiple properties, there will be several homes that stand out in your mind. Narrow your search to the five most attractive homes and revisit only those homes with your REALTORÂ®.
Preparing a final rating
After the final visits to your five top choices, rate each property one last time. By the end of the day, you should have a favorite. Your REALTORÂ® can then help you make an offer and begin the negotiating process.
Making an offer
It is normal for first-time buyers to be concerned that they are paying too much for their home. Rest assured that your REALTORÂ® understands current market conditions and can tell you whether the price is appropriate. As your representative, he or she can negotiate in your best interest.
Take your time
Be sure to give yourself adequate time to carefully execute the home search process. Listen to your REALTORÂ®â€™S advice and avoid rushing to make a decision. It is easy to get excited about buying a house or to want to end the process quickly, but keep in mind the importance of finding a house and neighborhood that suit your lifestyle.