So, you’re finally ready to settle down and buy a home. If it’s your first time buying a home, it can be hard to know how to approach house hunting to make your time count. We’re here to help! Make your house hunting trips more effective by planning ahead and knowing what to avoid. See our tips below, and look up some of your own before you head out. And remember to enjoy yourself!
1. Going house hunting before getting a pre-approval.
If you really want to be taken seriously in your homebuying journey, it’s essential to get pre-approved for a mortgage. First, you’ll know what you can afford, and being armed with a pre-approval allows you to quickly make a confident offer when you find the right house. Pre-approval should be step one if you’re serious about buying a home.
2. Assuming there’s nothing better out there.
Settling for the first house you like is tempting, but try to be patient and comparison shop. Many homes, especially condos and townhouses, are built by the same builder, so another property may have a similar model with the same features. Be sure to visit multiple properties to find out which one is best for you. Make sure you spend enough time to know you’ve found the best of what’s out there.
3. House hunting without an agent.
An agent can be extremely helpful, especially when it comes to finding real listings. Sites like Trulia and Zillow, while helpful, can be inaccurate when it comes to actual availability. Also, some listings won’t appear on those sites. Your perfect home could be invisible to you without an agent.
Our HomeAdvantageTM program can help you find an experienced agent in your area, and using a HomeAdvantage agent may help you get a cash reward* at closing as well.
4. Not staking out the neighborhood.
You know the saying, “location! location! location!” It’s so popular because it’s true. Tour the neighborhood you’re thinking of buying in, at different times and on different days. Check out the crime stats. Research the schools. What’s the shopping like? Are there plans for future developments nearby? All of these factor into your investment down the road. Thinking beyond the house can help you make a home buying decision you can live with for years to come.
It can be a bit of a balancing act when waiting for the right time to put in an offer. However, losing out on your dream house can be heartbreaking if you know you could’ve acted more quickly. Stay on your toes when it comes to being timely. An agent who knows what you’re looking for and can offer experienced advice will help you when you’re on the fence about making an offer.
6. Inviting uneducated advisers.
It might be tempting to bring along that best friend or a family member on your house hunting adventures. They may be great company when going from house to house, but if they’re not going to be living in the home you’re purchasing, their advice will probably be less helpful than that of your agent. Unless they’re experts in the real estate industry, take their advice into consideration but don’t treat it like gospel.
House hunting can be a fun adventure. Plan ahead by knowing what you’re looking for, going armed with a pre-approval, wearing comfortable shoes, and keeping things in perspective. When the right house comes along, you’ll know it!
Sources: realtor.com, investopedia.com
*The HomeAdvantage program is made available to you through a relationship between Signal Financial Federal Credit Union and CU Realty Services. Program Cash Rewards are awarded by CU Realty Services to buyers and sellers who select and use a real estate agent in the HomeAdvantage network. Home buyers or sellers are not eligible for Cash Rewards if they use an agent outside this network. Using Signal Financial Federal Credit Union for a mortgage is not a requirement to earn Cash Rewards. Cash Rewards amounts are dependent on the commissions paid to the agent. Signal Financial Federal Credit Union may have specific rules on how your Cash Rewards will be paid out. Cash Rewards incentives are available in most states; however, are void where prohibited by law or by the lender. Please consult with your credit union to get details that may affect you.