5 Tips for Finding the Perfect Home When House Hunting
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Congratulations, you’ve made the wise decision to purchase a home. Instead of paying someone else’s mortgage, pretty soon you’ll be paying your own and start building up equity. Once you’ve saved at least the minimum five per cent down payment, it’s time to start house hunting.
Although house hunting can be a lot of fun, it can also be overwhelming. The real estate market moves a breakneck pace for sellers today – it’s crucial to have all your ducks in a row and be ready, as being ill prepared can cost you your dream house. Here are our top house hunting tips to help you find the perfect house.
Tip 1: Location, Location, Location – I know its cliché, but the three most important rules of real estate are still “location, location, location.” While you can always improve the interior and exterior of your house, location is one thing you can never change. If you purchase your house on a busy arterial road, even if you spend thousands in renovations, some buyers will always be hesitant to buy on a main street.
Do as much research as you can about the neighborhood before you buy – drive by on a Saturday night to see if there’s excessive noise. Find out if there are any planned developments that could impact the value of your property – while a new high rise apartment could lower your home’s value, upscale condos could push it up.
Tip 2: Mortgage Preapproval – Shopping for a mortgage without a preapproval is like shopping at the supermarket with a blindfold on – the only difference is you’re spending your life’s savings on your house. Whether you’re a first-time homebuyer or you’re buying your fifth house, getting preapproved for a mortgage is a no-brainer. Not only will your lender provide you with the maximum purchase price you’re approved for to help set a realistic budget, most lenders will provide you with a rate hold of up to 120 days. That means if mortgage rate go up before you close, you’re covered – talk about a win-win situation!
Tip 3: Needs and Wants – Before you start looking at houses your real estate agent should sit down with you and help you develop a list of needs and wants. With so many houses out there, it can be overwhelming not to know exactly what you’re looking for.
A common mistake for first-time homebuyers is to not be flexible enough when it comes to your list. It’s important to understand that buying a house involves trade-offs. Although one house may be closer to your work, it may cost $20,000 more and have one less bedroom. If you’re looking for the perfect house you could be looking for a very long time; understand what your must-haves are and be open-minded with everything else.
Tip 4: Takes Notes – If you’re house hunting, chances are you’ll view quite a few properties before you find your dream house. After seeing two dozen houses, it’s easy to become confused and forget the key features of each house. Similar to when you’re a landlord interviewing prospective tenants; it’s a good idea to take notes on your initial impressions. If you’re house hunting with your partner, take the time to discuss your thoughts in private. While you may be ready to call a certain house your home, your partner may not share your optimism.
Tip 5: Get Representation – If you don’t have a real estate agent, what are you waiting for? While some sellers are choosing to list their house on their own, when it comes to buying there’s no good reason not to use an agent. House hunting with an agent won’t cost you a dime in commission – the seller will be on the hook for that. With the seller picking up the tab for your agent’s expertise, you should go out and find an agent who you’re comfortable with and who will go the extra mile to help you find your dream house.
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