Top 7 Steps to Find Your Home With the Least Amount of Stress
By Eric Bramlett
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Purchasing your new home is very exciting, but can also be a bit intimidating. If you make a decision hastily, you run the risk of buyer’s remorse. However, if you don’t organize your search well, it can drag on much too long – which can cause just as much stress. A systematic approach will ensure that you are able to make a sound decision in a reasonable amount of time. Follow these steps, and you will find a great home, with confidence & ease!
- Get Pre-Qualified & Choose Your Top Monthly Payment.
Pre-qualification is one of the most important steps in the home buying process. It still amazes me how many buyers want to skip this process and immediately begin looking at houses – and how many Realtors are willing to work this way! Pre-qualification is what gives you buying power and allows you to make an offer on your dream home when you’ve found it.
More importantly, pre-qualification will let you know how much that home will REALLY cost you – in monthly payments. A $150,000 or $300,000 home doesn’t mean a lot to most buyers – but $1200 per month and $2500 per month are tangibles that everyone can understand. After your lender pre-qualifies you, ask them for a “payment table” that shows you a rough estimate of TOTAL monthly payments based on purchase price. Pick your payment, and you know how much you can spend on your home!
- Use a Realtor!
Most people buy 3-5 homes in their lifetime. A good Realtor will have helped many people into their homes throughout their career – and will have been through the process many, many times. There are not many home buying situations that your Realtor won’t have seen - and if you run into one, your Realtor can refer to his office, and a wealth of knowledge. Additionally, your Realtor will have access to the MLS, which gives him a database of 99% of the homes for sale in your given area. Good Realtors don’t sell, they simply listen to their buyers, and present the options that they feel most suit their needs.
- Make a list of your “Must Haves.”
Many buyers claim that they “will know” when they “walk into the one.” If you begin looking at houses without “doing your homework” this will not be the case. Start your search by making a list of your “must haves,” or qualities that are a “deal killer” if the home doesn’t fit. These are typically price, neighborhood, size, 1 or 2 stories, etc… Sometimes, you will have very strong opinions about seemingly minor details – but these aren’t minor to you, if they’re on your “must have” list.
- Make a list of your “Wants.”
After you’ve identified what you “must have” in your new home, it’s time to make a list of what you want. Your “wants” are what you would like to have – but could possibly live without. These can include paint color, type of appliances, exterior façade, etc... While it would be nice to find a home with all of your “wants,” you will be happy as long as the home has a good number of these attributes.
- Choose your favorite neighborhood(s).
“Location, location, location” is the cardinal rule when shopping for your home. The reasoning is simple – you can always upgrade your home, but once you’ve closed, you have no control over location. Think about how close you would like to live to work, what school districts you think are favorable, & how near you want to be to recreational activities. Look at your “zone” & identify the neighborhoods that are within your price range. Of these, choose your favorites – and you’re halfway to choosing your new home!
- View Every Available Home That Matches Your Criteria – And Take Notes.
After you have identified your “must haves,” “wants,” & neighborhood(s), you have one fun step left in the process: Touring every home that matches your criteria! Your Realtor will run a search for every home that matches your search criteria, and you simply choose which homes you would like to tour. Your search results will hopefully return a good number of properties, so make sure and take notes while viewing. Write down what you like & dislike about each home – it will help you with the decision making process.
- Review your list & choose!
After identifying what you want in a home and where you would like to live, it’s very normal to fall in love with a home when you walk into it. However, if this doesn’t happen to you – don’t worry! You’ve carefully identified your likes & dislikes, you’ve identified the most appealing locations, and you’ve taken good notes! Simply review your list, weigh the pro’s & con’s of each, and make a sound decision. You have exercised “due diligence” & you can feel confident in your choice.
Eric Bramlett currently manages his Steiner Ranch Austin [http://www.ericbramlett.com/steinerranch.php] Guide, his Round Rock Real Estate companys website, & his Downtown Austin Condos [http://www.onesourcemetro.com/downtown.php] Guide.
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Article Submitted On: March 15, 2007