May 29, 2020 at 12:00pm | Josh Turner

House Shopping Tips

Hire the right buyer's agent

You’ll be working closely with your real estate agent, so it’s essential that you find someone you get along with well, that will listen intently to your needs, and help you accomplish those things. The right buyer's agent should be highly skilled, motivated, and knowledgeable about the area.

Pick the right type of house and neighborhood

You may assume you’ll buy a single-family home, and that could be ideal if you want a big yard or a lot of room. But if you’re willing to sacrifice space for less maintenance and extra amenities, and you don’t mind paying a homeowners association fee, a condo or townhouse could be a better fit.

However, even if the home is right, the neighborhood could be all wrong.  So be sure to:    

  • Research nearby schools, even if you don’t have kids since they affect home value.

  • Look at local safety and crime statistics. Your real estate professional cannot provide any insight into those things due to fair housing laws, so that is up to a buyer’s due diligence when finding a home.

  • Map -  the nearest hospital, pharmacy, grocery store, and other amenities you’ll use.

  • Drive - through the neighborhood on various days and at different times to check out traffic, noise, and activity levels.

Stick to your budget

Look at properties that cost less than the amount you were approved for. Although you can technically afford your pre-approval amount, it’s the ceiling — and it doesn’t account for other monthly expenses or problems like a broken dishwasher that arise during homeownership, especially right after you buy. Shopping with a firm budget in mind will also help when it comes time to make an offer.

In a competitive real estate market with limited inventory, it’s likely you’ll bid on houses that get multiple offers. When you find a home you love, you’ll need to be prepared to place a higher offer to get the property, and being at your pre-approval max will inhibit you from getting the home and lead to endless heartbreak! Shopping below your pre-approval amount creates some wiggle room for bidding and gives you the best opportunity to get the homes you find that you love. Sticking to your budget also helps to avoid a mortgage payment you can’t afford. Consult your financing specialist to discuss the best scenario for you!

Make the most of open houses

When you're touring homes during open houses, pay close attention to the home's overall condition, and be aware of any smells, stains, or items in disrepair. Ask a lot of questions about the home, such as when it was built, when items were last replaced, and how old key systems like the air conditioning, water heater, and roof are. Oftentimes homes are priced with specific repairs in mind, but your real estate professional can advise on the best price to accommodate the repairs needed based on comps and your financial information.

If other potential buyers are viewing the home at the same time as you, don’t hesitate to schedule a second or third visit to get a closer look and ask questions privately.

If you want more information on home shopping tips, please reach out to us to help you accomplish your goals.



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