You may have already saved for a down payment, started looking for a mortgage, and looked into realtors who have used a postcard for real estate marketing. How do you narrow down your options for a new home?
Make a List of Must-Haves
Before you start looking for your house, you should have a clear idea of what you need your house to be like. For example, if you have children, you might demand that your new house is in a great school district, is near playgrounds and has excellent options for daycare services. Do you need to choose a house with few or no stairs, like a ranch home, or is a multi-level home fine? Is a small backyard a deal-breaker for you? Do you want a busy urban environment, or something quieter? If a home meets almost all of your requirements, think about whether or not you are willing and financially able to make modifications to the house. It can be helpful to create two lists: a “need” list and a “want” list.
After this step is completed, you can easily search online for suitable homes and get an idea of how much your desired home might cost. Seek out information about recently sold homes in the area.
Go to Open Houses
While most realtors will have videos or virtual “tours” of available homes on their websites, you should still go to open houses. This will give you a chance to see any potential flaws or red flags in the house that a realtor would not show online.
Interview Potential Neighbors
It might be awkward to knock on strangers’ doors, but it is very important to meet the people who live near your potential home(s). Ask the neighbors what their favorite (and least favorite) things are about their neighborhood. Talk to them about if the neighbors are generally friendly with one another. This course of action may also alert you to hostile neighbors.