House Hunting Tips
House hunting is exciting. These house hunting tips will help keep you on track. There is lots to consider when you are house hunting. Once you start looking online you can easily be drawn into premature jubilation. A process is actually necessary to ensure you find a home you will love for years to come. You want to find the right house and be actually ready to make that purchase. It is tempting to call a realtor and want to see a house TODAY….IN 10 MINUTES. Slow down. Get all your ducks in a row.
Are you pre qualified with a lender. I hate to be a wet blanket but financing is the first thing you need to consider. Your house hunt cannot begin until you know what a lender is willing to lend you. Then you have a price range to search in.
A good lender will show you what kind of monthly out of pocket expenses you will expect to be paying. They do not just show you the principal and interest payment for the mortgage. They also discuss the cost of mortgage insurance (if you put less than 20% down payment). You will have property taxes, homeowners insurance, HOA to allow for monthly.
A good lender will ensure you are prepared for the expenses of the close of escrow day. At that time you will pay the down payment for the house and the closing costs (for the lender and title company). You will also may make some prepayments for home owners insurance and HOA and property taxes. You will need to show you have the funds in a bank account to cover these expenses. And you will need to show that this has been in your account or document where these funds come from.
All this needs to happen before you run out and look at homes. This house hunting tip is very important. You may qualify for a mortgage of $300,000 but have no cash on hand. Or you have cash on hand but bad credit. Lets find out what we have to work with!
Qualifications of the Home
Home buyers often make a great list of their home needs. And they should do this with their Realtor. That is a great house hunting tip. What is important to you in a home?
Then they start looking and ignore their list. Their Realtor can keep them on track.
The home buyer should refine the ‘what is important to you in a home’ list into a ‘wants vs needs‘ list. This is critical! You need to soul search what is truly a need.
If you do these two things your search will be far easier.
Wants VS Needs?
Buyers who try to get everything may end up not getting a home at all! Dividing your desires into the two lists (wants vs needs) will force you to reveal to yourself what is truly the most important quality in a home. This allows you to start your home search based on your highest priorities and save you endless time and frustration. Look at your list of what is important in a house carefully.
The definition of a “Want” is something you’d like to have. These are things that can easily be changed in a home, such as:
- Paint and Carpet
- Crown molding
- Deck, pool, hot tub
- Hardwood floors
- Tile floors
- Remodeled kitchen or baths
- Fireplace or wood stove
- Newer windows
On the other hand, a “Need” is anything that you absolutely must have. These are things that you cannot easily change. Examples would be:
- Enough space for your lifestyle
- Number of bathrooms
- Garage parking spaces
- Number of bedrooms
- Yard size
At first, Wants will try to sneak into your Needs list! A great home buying tip is to be tough with yourself now to make it easy later. Remember, this is your first home, you’ll get more of your “Wants” in your next home. You need to focus on wants vs needs.
Can’t seem to find what you want in a home? Go back and look long and hard at this list.
If you have trouble finding what you are looking for in a home, you really only have two choices, pay more, or reduce the number of “Wants” so you can get a home that fills your “Needs.” These tips for buying a house should make the process much easier for you.
Even people who buy million dollar homes can’t get all of their “Wants” in a home!
What is Important to You in a Home?
A home is more than just a collection of bedrooms and bathrooms. Several properties — each with four bedrooms, three baths, and the same price — may well represent radically different designs, commuting distances, lot sizes, tax costs, interior dimensions, and exterior finishes. So what is important to YOU in a home.
This is soul searching time. You need to decide what is important to you in a home.
Each of us is different and so it’s important to list the features and benefits you want in a home. Consider such things as pricing, location, size, amenities (extras such as a pool or extra-large kitchen) and design (one floor or two, colonial or modern, etc.).
Next, it’s important to consider your priorities. If you can’t get a home at your price with all the features you want, then what features are most important? For instance, would you trade fewer bedrooms for a larger kitchen? A longer commute for a bigger lot and lower cost? Once again really think…what is important to you in a home.
Lastly, consider your needs in several years. If you’ll need a larger home, maybe now is the time to buy a bigger house rather than moving or expanding in the future. If you expect your income to increase, perhaps you should consider a more expensive home financed with a loan program where monthly payments increase in the future.
Buying a house brings up many questions and ideas of what is important. My checklist of questions should help you think thru your wish list.
- How long do you plan to live there? The longer you plan to stay, the more life changes you’ll need to plan for.
- Do you have or plan to have kids? Consider schools, bedrooms, playroom, yard size, parks.
- Want a fixer? Do you have the time, money, commitment and skill to see it through?
- Is a new home or older home best for you?
- Do you need to be near public transportation? The Freeway?
- Will you like or dislike having a Homeowners Association?
- How long will your commute to work be?
- Do you need to be near a park?
- Is a community pool important to you?
- Will parking for guests be necessary?
- Is a garage a must? How many parking spaces?
- Do you want a RV gate and a place to park a boat or camper?
- What are HOA rules about RV gates and guest parking
- Need a large yard or will maintenance overwhelm you?
- Is a pool or hot tub a plus or a minus?
- What home styles are ideal and which are a definite “no”?
- If you need a fenced yard, can you afford to build one?
- Is a lot of landscaping or gardening good or bad?
- Do you prefer desert landscaping or grass?
- Do you like or dislike basements?
- How many bedrooms/den/office space you’ll need?
- Are there floor plans or styles that you dislike?
- Do you like a great room or prefer several rooms
- How many bathrooms will you need over the time you’ll own the home? Consider kids, roommates and overnight visitors.
- Can you afford to do cosmetic work such as carpet and paint?
- Do you like or dislike a wood stove or fireplace?
Now that you have an idea what things you want…..what do you need? Next we will look at wants vs needs.
5 Dating Tips That Apply to Home Shopping
Are your home shoppers desperately trying to find “the one?” Finding the perfect housing match can be like finding the perfect mate. For some Americans, this year’s Valentine may come in the form of a home, filled with shiny new fixtures and a great first impression. But that search isn’t always easy.
In a recent article, realtor.com® highlights how home-shopping can feel a lot like dating.
1. You need to have trust.
Americans seem to think they have a better chance at finding love than finding the perfect home. Fifty-two percent of home buyers believe they will find their dream home compared to 73 percent of Americans who believe they will find true love. While competition in the housing market is intense right now, home buyers shouldn’t get disheartened.
2. Don’t take the first one you find.
Home buyers look at a median of 10 homes before making a purchase. In the search for love, a man will date, on average, six other people before choosing “the one,” while a woman typically dates five. Home buyers shouldn’t be discouraged if the first few homes don’t feel right to them. Sometimes it takes a few before finding the perfect match.
3. Try finding an online connection first.
Ninety-two percent of home buyers say they use the Internet during their housing search while 38 percent of single-Americans say they have used online or mobile dating services to find love. Does that make realtor.com® your Matchmaker.com? The majority of Americans surveyed about dating sites and mobile apps say that they find a better romantic match because of the wide range of potential partners they can access. Sounds like a good lesson for real estate too!
4. First impressions do matter.
Seventy-seven percent of home buyers say they’ll know immediately when they’ve found their ideal home; 52 percent of Americans believe in love at first sight when dating. Trust your hunch.
5. Regrets happen.
Eighty percent of home buyers have at least one major regret about their new home purchase; 72 percent of married women admit they’ve considered leaving their husbands at some point. Home owners typically had buyer’s remorse when buying a home that was too small or didn’t have enough storage space, choosing a home near unpleasant neighbors, and purchasing in a bad school district. At least with real estate, your always a for-sale sign away from moving on.
“The reality, of course, is that neither homes nor relationships are ever truly perfect,” realtor.com®’s article notes. “But if you really work at understanding what you want and what you need, and taking the time to assess a variety of options, you’re likely to find a pretty good fit. Maybe even one that will improve with time.”