When you first make the decision to start shopping for a home, it can be a bit difficult to know exactly what it is you should be looking for. Or, equally as important, what you should be wary of.
The Best Tips for House Shopping
The first order of business, before browsing websites like Zillow or hiring an agent, is to determine your budget. There is no sense in starting your house hunt if you don’t know what you can actually afford. This will help you narrow down your search to areas that suit your budget as well as your needs, and avoid many disappointments down the road.
Once you’ve worked out a budget, you should start making a list of “must-haves” in your new home. Make sure, however, to distinguish between must-haves and things that would just be nice to have. Be honest with yourself here, as this list will have a significant impact on your house hunting experience and, ultimately, on the house you buy. Most importantly, understand that no house will tick off all the boxes of both your wants and your needs. Prioritizing your search by needs, then wants, you will be able to find a house that best suits your requirements and lifestyle.
Another thing that’s important to consider is the neighborhood. Is the area high traffic? Are the necessary amenities that are important to you close by? Try to get a feel for what it would be like actually living in a house before putting in an offer – make trips from the home to the nearest grocery store, see how the commute to work goes during your normal commute days and times. Additionally, try to get a feel for the neighborhood during different times of the day, and pay close attention to your neighbors. It’s no fun moving into your new home only to discover that the neighbors next door have a dog that barks all night.
Finally, make sure to assess the house itself with all your senses. Pay attention to any odd smells (or attempts to cover them up) or sounds. Check the faucets for water pressure, open and close doors and cabinets, check the attic/basement, flush all toilets. If possible, try to schedule a viewing right after inclement weather – this will help you spot any leaks that may have been hastily covered up with a fresh coat of paint. Even if everything looks good, never close on a home without a professional inspection.
The house you close on will become your new home. You will live in it day-to-day, and have good days and bad days in it. It’s important to ensure that you are making the right decision for you and your family, so don’t rush it. If one house goes off the market, another one will come. Buying a home takes time and patience, and with the right approach and a cautious eye you can ensure that you move into a home you will love for years to come.