The Best House Hunting Tips From Real Estate Pros

Posted by:
Caroline Soriano
June 19, 2024
10 minutes, 16 seconds
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Choosing to become a homeowner might be one of the most thrilling experiences of your life. It's crucial to reflect on a few things and learn how to strike a balance between your requirements and goals as well as your budget before moving forward. To help you choose the ideal property at a price you can afford, we've put together important tips on house hunting that helped our clients find their dream homes.

The 5 Best House Hunting Tips

Following these house-hunting tips can help you start and feel assured. Here are the five best tips when house hunting you may consider: 

1. Set A Budget And Begin The Approval Process

Determine how much you can afford to spend on a home before you start looking. To determine how much of a mortgage payment you would be comfortable with, use a budget calculator. Remember that there are other expenses you will have to pay each month as a homeowner besides your mortgage. Don't forget to include the following in your budget:

  • Homeowners Insurance
  • Home maintenance and upkeep
  • Homeowners Association (HOA) fees
  • Property taxes
  • Utilities (gas, electric, water)
  • Unexpected expenses (medical emergencies and unforeseen home repairs)

To determine your monthly payments depending on variables such as the cost of the house, the down payment, the length of the loan, and the interest rate on the mortgage, use a mortgage calculator.

Make sure you obtain a preapproval letter—as opposed to a prequalification letter—to receive first mortgage approval. Examining prequalified versus preapproved is important.

Prequalification letter: Based on an oral confirmation of your income and credit score, a lender will tell you roughly how much you can pay when they declare you're prequalified for a given amount.

Preapproval letter: A mortgage lender's preapproval letter outlines the maximum loan amount you are eligible for. Because lenders base their calculations on official documentation, such as your bank records, W-2s, and credit reports, it carries more weight than a prequalification letter.

Many real estate agents won't work with you until you have initial mortgage approval, even if you have a prequalification letter.

2. Make A Must-Haves & Nice-To-Haves Items For Your Home

Prioritizing may be necessary when looking for a home to ensure you get off to a good start. We advise you to start making a list of every space you envision for your home. After that, list the characteristics you wish each room to have, room by room.

These qualities could be divided into three groups: deal-breakers, nice-to-haves, and must-haves. After you've finished designing each area, think about the essentials and luxuries for the entire house.

Must-Haves

A must-have is something you absolutely cannot live without in your house and is one of the items you will use to weed out properties that are unfit for habitation. For example, you might require plenty of garage space for extra storage, a well-lit room for your remote home office, or three bedrooms to accommodate your family.

You'll be able to sort through real estate listings more quickly if you have a list of necessities. Perhaps you've found what appears to be the ideal house in every sense, but it's miles away from the closest school and lacks a backyard. For those who have a large family, small children, and a dog, having access to outside space and being close to a school will be essential.

However, you might want to keep the house on your list as a prospective alternative if it doesn't currently contain one of your must-haves but has the room or remodeling potential to make it happen.

Nice-To-Haves

Goodies are desires, not necessities. These are the kinds of characteristics you'd like to have in your house but aren't really that important. A spiral staircase, a firepit, modern appliances, or a backyard pool may be features you'd like to see in your new house, but overall, these are probably not must-haves.

Having a list of desirable features is advantageous since it can aid in your decision-making process once you've reduced the number of residences on your shortlist.

a couple browse real estate online on a laptop

3. Browse Real Estate Apps And Websites

Get a sense of the local real estate market by looking through homes for sale on the internet or via a mobile app. Websites dedicated to house hunting can help you get a closer look at what your area's typical home sells for and a more accurate notion of the kind of property you can afford.

You can investigate possible communities for schools, shops, crime rates, and other factors by conducting online research on properties. Applications can facilitate process optimization by offering arranged access to listings.

Make a price comparison between your budget and what you see in the market. Next, jot down a few addresses and get in touch with your realtor or the real estate firms that represented the houses you've had your eye on.

4. Contact A Realtor Or Real Estate Agent

A reputable real estate agent, often known as a REALTOR®, is an authority in your community and can ease the stress and anxiety associated with house hunting. In addition to helping you focus your search and show you more properties than you could possibly see on your own, they may also assist you make the most financial decisions.

Instead of only attempting to steer you toward the largest sale and commission, a competent real estate agent or REALTOR® will also carefully examine your unique needs when they select properties to show you.

How is a real estate agent different from a REALTOR®?

A professional who has completed the required licensure exams to conduct real estate business in your state is known as a real estate agent.

On the other hand, Members of the National Association of REALTORS® are licensed real estate brokers or REALTORS®. They have to be in the market, have a current real estate license, follow a tight code of ethics, and have a spotless record of professional conduct.

Both can be quite beneficial while looking for a home. Collaborate with a real estate agent that holds the designation of Certified Buyer Representative (CBR) or Accredited Buyer's Representative® (ABR®). A professional with a real estate broker license, which indicates they have completed further real estate coursework, is another option for you to think about.

Prior to making a decision, interview a few prospects and request recommendations from prior house buyers. Given the amount of time you will be spending together, pick an agent whose personality complements yours and be up forward about your wants and expectations.

5. View Homes Up Close

A lot of sellers let anyone to come inside and take a tour of their homes during open houses. Additionally, you can schedule in-person showings with your preferred real estate agent.

Be a little curious when you're looking at a house. Verify the functionality of kitchen appliances, showers, toilets, and outlets. If you choose to purchase the house, make a mental list of any repairs or replacements you might wish to request from the seller.

Conclusion

Finding the right house takes time and effort. However, you can make it seamless and less stressful by considering the basics, such as determining your budget, acquiring mortgage approval from your lender, and even working with a real estate agent.

If you need help with house hunting in Indiana, our team at RE/MAX Advance Realty is just a message away! Call us now at 317.298.0961 or leave a comment to get started.

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