House Hunting Checklist

Dated: 02/11/2018

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House Hunting Checklist: Step-by-Step Guide to Find Your Dream Home

house hunting checklist

Buying a home can be a daunting task. There’s a lot to get done before you can close on the home of your dreams, and it can be overwhelming to think about how much there is to do. The best way to approach this challenge is to create a checklist with each task to make buying a home seem more manageable. If you’re ready to find the home of your dreams, complete each item on this house hunting checklist:

✓ Conduct Research

The first step in the home buying process is conducting research. Buyers should start by researching various lenders and mortgages. Compare interest rates and terms so you know where to get the best deal when you are ready to buy a home.

Buyers also need to research neighborhoods in the community. Every buyer should take the time to conduct research on local neighborhoods—even those that think they know where they want to live already. Look into the local schools, traffic, and crime, then explore the area to locate the closest parks, shopping malls, and supermarkets. Gathering all of this information will make it easier to determine where you should live.

Check out HomeSelfe’s 12-Month Guide to Buying Your First Home. This is useful for anyone taking their time shopping the market.

✓ Get Pre-Approved

Unless you are planning on paying for the home in cash, the next item on your checklist should be getting pre-approved for a mortgage. Provide your lender with credit reports, tax returns, pay stubs, and any other documents they need to determine if you are approved or not. After reviewing this information, the lender will tell you how much you have been approved to borrow. This number should then be used to set a budget for your home search.

For example, let’s say you plan on putting $50,000 down on a home and you have been approved for a $250,000 mortgage. In this case, you should tell your real estate agent that you cannot spend more than $300,000.

house hunting checklist

✓ Make A Wish List

You’re almost ready to start house hunting! But first, take the time to create a wish list of features you would like to have in your new home. Create two columns so you can separate the must have features from the preferred features. It’s possible that you won’t be able to find a home with everything on this list, which is why it’s best to prioritize certain items by labeling them as “must haves.” For instance, a must have would be four bedrooms, but a preferred feature would be a swimming pool.

Share this list with your real estate agent so he or she knows exactly what you expect to find in a home.

✓ Start House Hunting

After weeks of preparation, it’s finally time to start house hunting. Let your real estate agent find homes that match what you are looking for and then make time to see them in person. Remember, pictures do not always tell a home’s full story. Even if you’re not crazy about the way a home looks in pictures, it’s best to see it in person before crossing it off of your list.

Take notes at every showing so you can remember exactly what you liked and didn’t like at each home. Some sellers also allow potential buyers to take photos, so ask your agent if this is appropriate when visiting listings.

✓ Make An Offer

Some buyers may find their dream home within a matter of days, however it can take weeks or months for others. Once you’re ready, work with your agent to make an offer on the home. Your agent can research similar sales in the neighborhood to calculate how much you should offer on the home.

Even if you think the offer is fair, be prepared for the seller to make a counteroffer. If you don’t want to raise your price, talk to your agent about other ways to sweeten the deal. For example, some sellers may be willing to go a bit lower in price if a buyer is willing to close quickly. Whatever you do, don’t make an offer that you don’t feel comfortable with.

Buying a home doesn’t seem as intimidating when it’s broken down into these small tasks. Work your way through this house hunting checklist and you’ll be moving into your dream home before you know it!

Click Here to download the Buyer's Guide (Winter 2017)!
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IRENE MEDINA "Standing by YOU Every Step of the Way!" A Passion for Education and Sustainable Living Irene's passion for education and sustainable living are what make her stand out from the ....

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