Loan Road Map: Stop #2 Home Search and Offer
Now that you have a preapproval in hand, the REAL fun begins — shopping for a home!
There are many things to consider when shopping for a home. Searching for a home allows you to get a feel for a new neighborhood, a new school district while making sure your lists of must-have items are in your new house. Purchasing a home is often the largest commitment you will make in your lifetime, so it’s important you are prepared.
How Should I Conduct my Home Search?
There’s a good chance you already have a list of WHAT you’re looking for in a new house. If not, start to make a list of priorities. Before you even step into a house, compile a must-have list. How many bedrooms do you need? Do you need a 2-car garage? How many bathrooms do you need? As you start to search for homes, be sure to update your list.
It’s important you shop in your price range. It may be tempting to view homes that are outside of your budget, but STICK TO YOUR BUDGET. Don’t forget to add in property taxes, insurance and homeowner fees. Plus you’ll want to leave some room in your budget for maintenance and future improvements.
Should I Hire a Realtor?
Finding a Realtor that is knowledgeable about the neighborhoods you’re interested in will be a huge asset to your home search. Take the time to find a Realtor that will work best for you, someone you feel comfortable with and who will listen to your needs.
What should I look for in a potential house?
When visiting potential houses, try to look past the aesthetics and focus on the space. You can replace carpet and re-paint walls. Think long-term. Consider the amount of space, the floor plan, privacy, entertaining and upkeep. Just because you are preapproved for a certain amount doesn’t mean you can afford it.
How do I determine an offer price?
Your Realtor can help you determine a competitive asking price. If the house has been on the market for a long time, you can maybe write an offer below the asking price. If the house is newly on the market, the seller is less likely to accept an offer below the asking price.
Anything else I should know before I write an offer?
Before you write an offer, make sure you have investigated the house and the neighborhood. Here are some tips to consider before making an offer on a house:
- Search for neighborhood information online
- Check the crime report
- Check the school district
- Check for neighborhood amenities
- Check for local amenities
- Visit the home at different times of the day
- Test your commute
To read about our first stop on the Loan Road Map, click here.