Top 5 Tips to Begin Your Home Buying Process

Contact Leslie

When searching for a new home, identify the characteristics and features you want and do some research with the help of a knowledgeable TR& agent. You will then be able to focus in on the home of your dreams at the best price.

Putting together a solid game plan ahead of time can help you narrow your search to find the best home for you. Here are some tips to prepare you for the home-buying process:

Figure out what type of home suits your personality. Are you leaning toward a new home or an existing home? A one-story ranch or a large home on the golf course? If you are considering a home that needs some TLC (a fixer-upper), are you capable of doing the work yourself, or will you need to budget for contractors?

Make a list of the features that are must-haves and identify those that are “bonus” features (not necessities, but would be nice). Choose four or five neighborhoods in which you would like to live based on items of importance to you, such as schools, price, proximity to the beach, recreation, crime rates, etc. Then use our advanced Property Search to find the homes available in your price range and in your targeted neighborhoods. Use the Property Watch feature of our website to save your favorite listings. Now you can prioritize your wants and needs and identify properties that meet your criteria.

As a general rule of thumb, lenders say you can afford a home priced two to three times your gross income. If you are not a cash buyer and you are seeking financing, contact a lender to get pre-approved. This will also help you determine your budget for a home.

There are several questions to ask yourself before you are able to establish a timeline goal to move. Do you need time to fix blemishes on your credit? If you already own, is your current home under contract or has it already sold? If not, and your buying a new home is contingent on the sale of your existing home, you will need to factor in this time needed to sell. If you are renting, when does your lease expire? Where are interest rates now, and where are they projected to be in the near future? If you answer these questions, you will have a better idea of your timeline for a move.

It is okay to be selective about the home and neighborhood you want, but try not to be unrealistic or closed-minded about minor imperfections. If you insist on finding a home in the Sunset Hills area, for example, you may miss out on a great home in another area. On the other hand, try not to be so influenced by a spectacular feature that you forget about other issues that might have an impact on your quality of life. Always remember that there is no such thing as the “perfect” home.