The kids are back in school. Between that, their extracurricular activities and outside clubs, it probably feels you’re in your car more than in your home. Plus, you still have meals to prepare, groceries to buy and laundry to do. OH – and then there’s your job. Time is precious. When you are looking for a new home, combined with all that, it can be hard to do it all. That’s why we wanted to share these five ways to maximize your house hunting time.
1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage. You may think, “Wait… I’m just looking for a house. I don’t want to start all that yet. Besides, this is a blog for a mortgage company so of course you’d say that.” Okay, well, true – we are a mortgage company, but we’re not the only ones who think this is one of the best uses of your time in the house hunting process. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will let you know which homes are in your price range. This will help you avoid spending time viewing homes that do not fit in your budget. Being pre-approved by a mortgage lender can also help provide strength to your offer. When sellers receive multiple offers, those with the backing of a pre-approval from a reputable mortgage lender tend to be taken more seriously.
2. Choose an Exceptional Realtor®. I wouldn’t do my own dental work. I wouldn’t cut my own hair (the little that’s left). And, I wouldn’t act as my own real estate agent. For jobs that are out of my realm of expertise, I trust those who are experts in their fields. A well-seasoned Realtor® will have familiarity with the local market, knowing the benefits and drawback of the various neighborhoods as well as which properties are fresh on the market. They’ll also be able to guide you on comparable and realistic pricing expectations. They do this every day, so they’ll provide up to date and valuable information that only a professional in the real estate industry can.
3. Know What You Want. How many bedrooms do you need? How many bathrooms will you require? Do you want a pool (or a backyard that provides the option for one)? How many stories do you want? Where in the city do you want to be located? Hundreds of questions pop up when you are deciding on your next home. Thankfully, you have the answers! Sit down and make a list of what you require and what is optional. Distinguish between your needs and your wants. Know your non-negotiable features. Provide this list to your Realtor® who will be able to narrow down the list of options even more so that when it comes time to view the different homes, you’re sure to see only the ones that check off the list.
4. Plan Your Path. On the days that you do view homes with your Realtor®, look at a map and plan the order of the homes you’ll see. There’s no need to go from one end of town to another and then back again. See them in an order that makes sense. Also keep in mind the time of day and potential traffic that might hit certain areas of town. School zones and five o’clock traffic could eat up time in between. Consider seeing the newly listed homes first; they may be gone before you know it. As part of the plan, build in time to return to the ones that stand out to you. A second look may be all you need to decide it’s your first choice!
5. Take Good Notes. Whatever will help you remember, do that. After seeing the third or fourth house, they might start to blend together a bit. In your head, you might remember a room connected to a different home or place the house in a different neighborhood. Write things down. Give the homes nicknames like on some of the popular shows on HGTV. Use your smart phone to take good notes and pictures. Consider also just filming your walkthrough so that the layout is more clear to you and you can hear your initial reactions to what you see. Use whatever tools you have to help keep your options clear in your mind.
The world is a busy place, and when you have a move looming, it gets even busier. These few steps can help you move navigate your house hunting journey a bit quicker. When you’re ready to start with #1, contact us at First Choice Loan Services. We’ve love to help you on your exciting journey home!
Senior Vice President | Communications