Congratulations! You have found the Realtor you want to us – and you have talked to the lenders and gotten pre approved for a mortgage. You know how much home you can afford! You may have been doing a lot of pre-house hunting, searching online at sites like Zillow and Realtor.com! You may have even been driving through different neighborhoods or looking at various websites to see what homes are currently for sale!
Now, you are ready to take the next step! And that next step can be a fun part of buying a house! That is finding the home of your dreams!
If you are like most home buyers that I work with, you are probably doing a lot of research online – and that can be a window shoppers dream come true! But a word of caution here – those online listings most likely don’t give you a complete picture of the home. The only way to get a true picture of the house is to actually visit it in person. Remember – what you see online can be like a Cliff Notes version of your dream home and dream neighborhood!
So what are the steps to finding that dream home?
Decide on Needs and Wants!
There are a lot of things you may want in a house. But, depending on your price range and the area you want to be in, you may or may not be able to get those things in the home of your dreams! But there may be some things that are non-negotiable! For instance, if you have 2 kids and you work from home, you may need a 3 or 4 bedroom home – 2 bedrooms just won’t do!
Have Your Realtor Set Up A Search Link For You In MLS!
Your Realtor can set this up for you and whenever there is a new listing, a price reduction or a back on the market listing that meets your criteria, you will get an immediate email! Your Realtor may even be able to set you up for any Coming Soon listings! Take a look at the house and decide if this is a house you will want to see!
Mark The Properties On Your MLS Link As Favorites, Possibilities or Trash!
When you get the email with listings, you have a chance to go into your portal and decide if this is a home you absolutely want to see, maybe you want to see or there is no way you want to see! Your Realtor can check that portal every day to help you decide if you do want to see that home! Perhaps your Realtor knows a little bit about the house that you can’t find in the MLS listing information! Or perhaps the condition won’t allow it to qualify for your financing! If the house seems like it could work for you, then you will definitely want to get out and see it!
Set Up Showing Times With Your Realtor!
In this market where we continue to have very limited inventory in some areas, getting out and seeing a home that looks like it could work for you as soon as possible may mean the difference between being able to purchase the home and not being able to purchase it!
See The Home With Your Realtor!
You should go to see the home with your Realtor! But there are some things to keep in mind when you are looking at the house!
- Sellers may need 24 hour notice if the home is still occupied
- Wear comfortable shoes that can easily come on and off – some sellers request no shoes be worn in the house
- Dress for the weather
- Don’t assume that the bathroom will be available – some sellers have the water turned off
- Don’t touch furniture or any personal items – you don’t want to be responsible for any breakage
- Keep an eye on the kids & remind them not to play with any toys or touch any pets
- Some homes have nanny cams, so watch what you say
Drive The Neighborhood At Different Times Of The Day!
You may have already done so, but if you find a house you like and are considering making an offer on it, you may wish to drive the neighborhood at different times of the day and night! You are not only buying a house, but also buying a neighborhood, so make sure that the neighborhood is one you and your family will love for years to come!
Visit The Schools – If This Is Important To You!
If you have kids and the schools that your kids will be attending is important to you, then make an appointment with the principals of the schools. They are more than happy to show you around and answer any questions you may have about their schools!
Talk To The Police About Crime In The Area – If This Is Important To You!
Remember that in Virginia, Megan’s law means that you have the right to check the state police website for any offenders that may be in the neighborhood – BUT if you do it after you have a ratified contract , this is not a contingency that will allow you to terminate a contract on! And if you are concerned about the crime in the neighborhood or area, the local police are a great resource to let you know just what is going on in the area!
Have Your Realtor Do A Market Analysis To Determine How Well The House Is Priced!
Knowing how well the house is priced to begin with is important in deciding how you want to structure your offer! How long has the house been on the market? What have other homes in the area and in a similar condition sold for recently? What work needs to be done after closing? Will it qualify for your financing? All of these things are important to know when you are deciding how to structure your offer!
Remember – Finding A Home Is Not Like On HGTV’s House Hunters!
Looking at homes can be fun – but it can also be very grueling! On House Hunters, the buyers look at 3 houses and then decide on 1 and they actually are the winning offer on the house! But the chances of you looking at only 3 houses before finding that one house that is your dream house is probably not going to happen! So be prepared – but remember, the house that you will ultimately want to buy will be there for you!
Now that you have found the right house, the right Realtor and the right lender, you will want to prepare your offer!
Have questions? Thinking of buying a home? Feel free to contact me directly and let me know how I can help! No pressure, no obligation!