Three to six weeks is the average time it takes for people to decide to purchase a house.
Searching for a home is no easy task. There are many factors to consider from the first open house to being handed the key to your new home.
Are you ready to start house hunting, but have not idea how to find a house you love? We’re here to help! Check out these top seven tips on how to discover your dream home.
1. Use a Real Estate Agent
Studies show that 90% of home buyers are enlisting the help of a real estate agent to help them house hunt.
Real estate agents have a front-row seat to homes that pop on the market first and can alert you when one aligns with your needs. Hiring a real estate agent takes much of the hard work out of shopping so you can focus on more important things.
2. Understand Your Needs and Wants
Sure, an inground pool and hot tub are amazing luxuries, but are they necessities?
If you have a large family, or occasionally have visitors, how many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Will you need a fence for kids or pets? Are there reasons you should not consider a two-story home?
While it’s important to stay flexible when searching for your dream house, stick to a list of non-negotiables and write them down. This list will vary for every family, but skipping on a feature you need in exchange for another you don’t could cause buyer’s remorse in the future.
Speaking of the future, plan ahead. For example, if you’re a single couple expecting children, think about how the home can accommodate more people. Most people stay in their homes for an average of 13 years.
3. Location Matters, Too
Is there an area (or two) that you’d prefer? Or, more importantly, one that you don’t?
Take some time to scope out neighborhoods you’re interested in, preferably more than one to broaden your options. Sticking to one neighborhood could prove to be difficult when finding a dream home, or you could miss out on a gem.
4. Choose a House Style
With so many different styles of houses available, house-hunting can become much more challenging. Do you love Victorian? Ranch? Farmhouse? Split level? How do you choose?
After viewing several styles of homes settling on a house style that’s right for your family can whittle the possibilities and make a choice easier. Narrowing down on a house layout along with style will help you understand the general flow of you
5. Keep a List of Likes and Dislikes
If you’ve visited many homes, after a while, it’s difficult to remember which house was which!
As you visit an open house, create a list of features you love and those you could do without. Often many homes look great online or in pictures, but visiting them gives you a different perspective. Bring a camera to document your visit, so you can refer to them when discussing your choices.
6. Stay Within Your Budget
Setting a budget is one of the most important factors when purchasing a home. Your housing budget should be 25-35% of your income. Buying a home significantly out of your price range could cause financial stress and burden other areas in your household budget.
One mistake many homemakers make is setting a budget before applying for a loan. To avoid any heartache or financial frustration, apply for a loan first, and then set your budget.
7. Have a Vision
Realistically speaking, not every home will offer all the things on your wishlist, especially if you have a long list! There could be several cosmetic issues that are not preferable, but fixable. Wall paint, for example, is an easy change.
Be able to keep an open mind and visualize how your family could use the space. Pay closer attention to your list of essentials and house layout, while remembering many aspects can be updated if need be.
8. Keep Communication Open
Most likely, you and your spouse or partner (if you have one!) could have different ideas on what you each desire from a house. No communicating well with each other could lead to disagreements. House shopping together should be an exciting time, and not adding extra stress to your relationship.
Be considerate, listen, and prepare to compromise on things that are not on your list of must-haves.
9. Inspect Everything
House hunting is serious business, so don’t be afraid to ask lots of questions and look twice at a house you’re interested in. Check out the windows, the home’s history, pipes, or exterior of the home.
Visiting at different times during the day brings another context to the home. This way, you’ll gain an overall feel for how living there would look.
Don’t forget – once you decide on a home – having it inspected is key. Dream houses could have some problems, too!
10. Press On and Sleep On It
Finding a dream home doesn’t happen in one visit (most likely!). Even if you’ve checked every item on your list, don’t let that be the reason to sign a contract. Take some time to talk and think over the purchase and even pursue other opportunities before you seriously consider buying any home.
Be open to exploring other homes that you may not naturally gravitate towards. Those homes can sometimes surprise you and be in the running as a contender.
Even if the search seems fruitless, keep pressing on. Working together with your real estate agent you’re sure to find what you’re looking for!
Find Your Dream Home Today
House shopping can be stressful, but implementing these tips can remove some of the roadblocks on your path to finding your dream home. How can you use these tips to make your search smoother?
Ready to start your journey to your new home? We have over 40-years experience helping people find a home they love. Contact us today to learn more!