The Five Stages of House Hunting
Check out the self help section of any bookstore and you’re likely to find several books that start with “The Five Stages of (FILL IN THE BLANK).” Yes, just about every major life event has phases, including buying a home. Allow us to break down the five stages of house hunting for you — and what you can do to maximize each one.
This part is easy! You’re probably already doing this when you’re tuning into HGTV or scouring Houzz and Pinterest. Envision your ideal home style, layout, outdoor space, and community. If you have no idea of what your dream home entails, buy some magazines and hop online. There is no shortage of inspiration a click away!
Also, make two lists: “must haves” and “nice to haves” in your new home. Factors like number of bedrooms and bathrooms, layout, outdoor space, and location should be on the first list. Wish list finishes like rainhead showers and professional grade appliances should be on the second. Those things can always be swapped out or added at a later date.
Once you have a good feel for the style of home you want, it’s time to connect with a trusted and experienced Realtor (link what to look for…). Many house hunters don’t think they need an agent when buying. No so! Click here for the many reasons you absolutely need a buyer’s agent. The good news? It won’t cost you more than a modest administrative fee (the seller’s agent covers all commission costs).
Another benefit of working with a buyer’s agent is that they may introduce you to areas that fit your needs that you don’t even know about yet!
Also, be sure to connect with a reputable lender and determine your budget for your new home. You want to start your search knowing your upper limit to avoid falling in love with a home that you cannot afford.
Start to get out there and visit communities and homes in person. Drive through some neighborhoods that sound promising. Stop for a latte at the local coffeeshop and try to strike up conversation with the locals. Take the kids or dog to the local park to get a better feel for the area. At some point, be sure to drive through at rush hour to see what your commute might be like.
Visit weekend open houses in your target area. Tour the different styles of homes that are available. Begin to zero in on what you like (and don’t) in a home.
Trust your gut. Don’t wait too long to take action if a home has the “it” factor, especially if you’re in a competitive market or looking in a hot area.
If you find your dream house at an open house, let your agent know right away. Schedule a time to go back with your Realtor as soon as possible.
Conversely, don’t attempt to talk yourself into a home that seems perfect on paper but just doesn’t call to you. Also, don’t take on more of a project than you are ready to handle. Perhaps most importantly, don’t stretch your budget beyond your comfort zone.
Once you’ve zeroed in on “the” house, get down to the nitty gritty. Line up the details of your offer. Make your earnest money readily available. Familiarize yourself with the ins and outs of the sales contract. Start to plan for your move.
Overwhelmed? We know how you feel! What starts out as a very fun and dreamy process can quickly become exhausting and stressful. That’s why it’s especially important to have a trusted Realtor in your corner.
If we can help you navigate the house hunting process, please contact us. Our passion is helping people love where they live!
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