How to search for a home - the right way
Searching for a new home can be an overwhelming process, especially for first-time homebuyers. With so many options available, it's essential to know how to use search terms and tools to your advantage. In this blog, we'll guide you through the process of searching for a home the right way and help you create a must-have list for your realtor.
1. Start with a budget
Before you start searching for a home, you need to have a budget in mind. It's important to know how much you can afford to spend on a new home, including the down payment and monthly mortgage payments. Use online calculators to estimate your monthly mortgage payments based on the price of the home, your down payment, and your interest rate.
2. Use specific search terms
When searching for a home online, use specific search terms that reflect your preferences. For example, if you want a home with a pool, search for "homes with a pool" or "pool homes." If you want a home with a large backyard, search for "homes with a large yard" or "homes with a spacious backyard." Using specific search terms will help you find homes that meet your specific criteria.
You may want to leave more wiggle room in certain search criteria than others. If you are set on needing a home with three bedrooms or more, you should filter the results per that must-have. If you are okay with one, two, or even three bedrooms, you can leave that filter option blank!
Having a well-thought out must-have list can help you to differentiate between your needs and your wants in your new home. .
3. Use online tools
Don't get overwhelmed by your home-search
There are many online tools available that can help you in your search for a new home. Real estate websites such as Zillow and Redfin allow you to search for homes based on your preferences and provide detailed information about each home, including photos, property details, and neighborhood information. Use these websites to narrow down your search and find homes that meet your criteria. These home search engines can also be used to see recently sold homes that meet your search criteria.
It’s important to know these tools are exactly that, just tools. They shouldn’t be used as your only home search tool, because sometimes the information on listings can be incorrect, outdated, or even misleading. You should always find a trusted realtor to help you with the process of searching for a home.
That being said, home search tools are still an easily accessible and fun tool you can use to look for homes that strike your fancy.
4. Make a must-have list
Creating a must-have list for your realtor is a crucial step in finding your dream home. Your list should include the features and amenities that are non-negotiable for you. For example, if you have children, you may want a home in a good school district. Or, if you work from home, you may need a home office. Other things to consider include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the size of the backyard, and the location of the home.
If you’re working with a realtor, consider making a “must-have” list, and a “would-like” list that they can use when locating homes for you. Your must-have list should include things you have to have, like location, number of bedrooms, or square footage. If there’s other features you would like but aren’t deal breakers, those can go on a “would-like” list!
Work with a reputable realtor
Working with a reputable realtor is essential in finding the right home for you. A good realtor will listen to your needs and preferences, and help you find homes that meet your criteria. They will also provide valuable advice and guidance throughout the home buying process.
Make sure the realtor you choose to work with is experienced, reputable, and has a good background. They should be honest and willing to help you understand any part of the homebuying process you are unfamiliar with. Do your research on your realtor! Look up their reviews, certifications, and licenses to make sure they are a good match for what you are looking for.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions!
Searching for a home can be a daunting task, but by using specific search terms and online tools, creating a must-have list, and working with a reputable realtor, you can find the home of your dreams. Take your time, do your research, and don't be afraid to ask questions. If you’re in the market to buy a home, give yourself an advantage by taking homebuyer education and money management courses. By educating yourself, you can be prepared to take on anything your home search process might throw at you. Happy house hunting!