Each year, more than 6 million homes are sold in the United States.
For most Americans, finding the perfect home for their family is the ultimate dream. But, as you probably heard before, house hunting can be quite stressful and overwhelming. It could take months before you finally spot the home of your dreams.
Given how big an investment a house is, however, investing enough time, energy, and resources to find the right one is well worth it. No matter how long it takes, once you find your perfect home, you’ll always have an inviting place to relax and create memories with your loved ones.
So how do you go about finding your dream home? We’ve prepared a list of eight tips to guide you. Read on to learn more.
1. Determine What the Perfect Home Looks Like for You
While there are lots of dream home ideas out there, you need to determine what works best for you.
Do you value privacy and freedom? Then the ideal home for you may be a single-family home. Such a home is especially great for families with kids or pets, as there’s usually enough space in the yard to play in.
If you’re looking for a smaller living space that doesn’t come with all the maintenance projects a single-family home does, then a condo is most likely your dream home.
2. Find a Great Location
You may have found a house you really like, but if it’s a two-hour drive distance from your office, then it’s no good. Similarly, a home located away from essential amenities will only inconvenience you over time.
Take the time to drive around a two-mile radius to find out what’s around the home before considering purchasing it. Do you feel comfortable with the area in general? If you do, that’s a good start.
Next, find out the school district the home is located in, whether you have school-going kids or not.
Keep in mind that a time may come when you may want to resell the house, and most potential clients will be interested in these factors.
3. Research the Neighborhood
You may have fallen in love with a listed home, but if you want that love affair to last decades, you’ll need to feel the same way for the neighborhood as well. If you spotted the home in an online listing, browse these listings to get a good idea of lifestyles in the area.
Take the time to visit the neighborhood in person. You could spend a weekend walking or driving around the area. Visit several shops, hotels, and other areas to get a real feel of the place.
Ask yourself as you drive around whether the home is in a neighborhood that perfectly fits your needs. If you love the outdoors, don’t go for a house that’s 50 miles away from the closest jogging trails.
4. Get Your Finances in Order
Shopping for the home of your dreams without first getting pre-approved can soon turn into a nightmare. After weeks of searching for a home, you could have your mortgage application turned down.
Before starting home hunting, get a credit report to see where you stand. Find out your current credit score and determine where you need to make improvements to boost it. Ensure you have proof of income and tally the amount of money you have in the bank for both the down payment and closing costs.
5. Stick to Your Budget
Now that you’ve been pre-approved and have a clear idea of the mortgage you may qualify for, it’s time to find a home that’s within your price range. A common mistake aspiring homeowners make is look for homes that are above their budget.
Don’t go for a bigger mortgage just because you qualify for it. If you do, you’re likely to struggle to make monthly payments, and that could sour the true love you now have for the home.
6. Think About the Future
The perfect home for you is one that meets your needs both now and in the future. Ideally, you’re going to be staying in your dream home for more than five years. This helps you build equity while paying down the mortgage.
The ideal home is one that can grow with you. If you still don’t have kids but plan to have them in the future, then the house should have at least one extra bedroom. For homeowners who plan to work remotely in the future, a home with a home office is perfect.
7. Look Beyond the Flaws
No matter how lucky you get, it’s hardly possible to find a home that has everything on your wish-list. Usually, the home you find may have one or two things you don’t like. That, however, doesn’t mean that you can’t still make it your dream home.
Don’t get too focused on a few cosmetic blemishes that you can easily deal with. A shade of paint you don’t fancy in the bathroom, for instance, shouldn’t be a deal-breaker. If the home is well-built, spacious, and has lots of features you love, then snap it up.
With a little TLC in the future, the home will become just what you dreamed of.
8. Get a Home Inspection
So you’ve found a home that ticks most or all of the right boxes and can’t wait to sign the papers, get the keys, and move in. Before you commit yourself, however, you need to get a thorough inspection of the home by a licensed home inspector.
It doesn’t matter what the condition of the house looks like. The last thing you want is to get some unpleasant surprises a few months after moving into the home when it’s already too late. A seasoned home inspector should be able to uncover any potential problems the home may have.
Finding Your Dream Home Is Easier Than You Thought
When shopping for a new home, it’s understandable to be cautious. You’re making the biggest investment you’ll probably ever make in your lifetime, and it’s crucial that you get it right the first time. With enough research and a bit of legwork, you can make your dream of owning the perfect home a reality.
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