Buying a home is one of the most important transactions you will ever make. And in today’s competitive home-buying environment, you need to be ready to act immediately once you find that perfect home. That’s why it’s crucial to be prepared and organized, even before you begin your search. This will not only help you find the home of your dreams; it will also make the house hunting process much easier and more enjoyable. Here are some things to keep in mind before you start looking for houses.
While there is a wealth of online resources available to home buyers who choose a “do it yourself” approach, it’s important to use an experienced real estate broker to help with your search. Real estate services professionals have unmatched expertise on what’s happening in the housing market today. They also can give you a completely objective and professional opinion of the homes and neighborhoods you are considering.
In today’s market, a mortgage pre-approval (or proof of funds for cash buyers) is essential. It lets you know exactly what you can afford to buy, and also demonstrates to a seller that you are a willing and able buyer. You should also use an online mortgage calculator to get a sense of your buying power and monthly mortgage payments. Remember that there are other expenses involved in buying a home, such as moving, decorating and remodeling, so it’s always a good idea to consult with your accountant or financial advisor to assess your financial goals.
Before you begin your search, it’s important to prioritize your wants and needs. There are many variables to think about depending on your lifestyle, budget and future plans, but some universal considerations include location, type of home, and features and amenities. Consider the factors that are most important to you, such as schools, restaurants, and shops in the area; construction-style, and more specific details like garage parking and outdoor space.
Once you have selected an agent, assessed your financial situation, and determined exactly what you are looking for, you are ready to begin your home search.
About the author: Peter Olesker is Executive Vice President of @properties, a Chicago real estate brokerage dedicated to providing expert, quality advice and service for all of your real estate transactions. Leaders in state-of-the-art technology and marketing, @properties offers a higher level of service and professionalism for clients. For more information visit: www.atproperties.com.