Write down your list of wants.
Before you start your house-hunting journey, sit down with your family and brainstorm. Think about what you’d like to have in your perfect house. You may not be able to have everything on your list. But if you know your ideal, you can better decide whether a house is right for you or not.
Getting a pre-approved mortgage is one of the most important steps in buying the perfect house. Until you know your loan amount, you’ll be house hunting in the dark. Finding out how much you can afford will narrow the real estate market for you. It’s no fun to fall in love with a house, and then find out it’s out of your price range. Or settle for a house when you can afford much more.
-Look at the square footage price and not just the total.
The real estate listing should have two different figures, the total sale price and the price per square foot. Many buyers only focus on the total. Sometimes you can find a great deal on square footage just by paying a little more in total sales price. If one house has 1700 square feet and costs $175,000, and the other has 2000 and costs $185,000, the second is the better buy even with the higher price tag. It allows you to get the most for your money.
-Keep an open mind about As Is Homes.
Ideally, you’d love to find a move in ready house. But that isn’t always the case depending on your price range or neighborhood. Just because a house has a little wear and tear doesn’t mean you should pass it by. Keep repairs in perspective. A broken tile here and a hideous wall color there is much easier to fix than a decaying roof or structural damage.
-Look for neighborhoods on the rise.
If your house budget is tight, consider moving into a “neighborhood on the rise.” Local residents and newcomers are renovating these neighborhoods, which are mostly in urban areas. The homes are older, and the neighborhoods have a lot of charm. Just because an area was considered “tough” a few decades ago doesn’t mean it’s still that way.
-Drive by at different times of the day.
If you’ve settled on a particular house, do some investigating before you make your offer. Driving by the home at different times during the day will give you an idea of what it’s like to live there. You can find out more about your potential neighbors and address any safety concerns.