Friends of mine recently bought a new (to them) vehicle for the first time in several years, and it was interesting hearing about their search for the perfect set of wheels. They spent hours online after the kids went to bed each night researching makes and models, weighing the pros and cons of miles on the car, gas mileage, safety records, resale value, interior styling – they were diligent in their search and left no stone unturned.
My friends test drove several models and eventually settled on an SUV that appealed to their bottom line and still offered a healthy dose of style. For a few weeks their search for a vehicle became a second job of sorts, and I applaud their efforts as informed consumers. Imagine, then, how much more important it is to be diligent in the search for your next home. I’d like to offer a few tips on ensuring your next home test drive is a successful one.
- Do your research. Consider your budget in terms of monthly housing expenditures, read about major features of a home like heating/cooling, and learn as much as you can about the neighborhood(s) you are targeting.
- Get real (with your expectations.) Set your sights high, but try not to be unrealistic with your expectations. Discuss your priorities with your Realtor and make a working list of them to consider during showing. And remember – no home is perfect.
- Put your financial house in order. Order a copy of your credit report and review it carefully. Be sure you are prepared to cover your down payment and closing costs. Next, talk to a lender and get prequalified for a mortgage. Prequalifying for financing before your home search is a must. This will help your Realtor show you homes you can afford to fall in love with.
- Make a moving timeline. Are you currently in a lease? Trying to sell your home? Moving a long distance? All of these factors will help you determine when you should move, and this is an area your Realtor may be able to offer insight.
- Look ahead. Are you looking for a starter house with plans to move up in a few years, or do you hope to stay in this home for a longer period? This decision may dictate what type of home you’ll buy as well as the type of mortgage terms that will best suit you
- A home inspection is non-negotiable. When you strip away the curb appeal, staging and your excitement that you’ll finally get the home office you’ve always wanted – you are left with the guts of your new home. Don’t ignore the inner workings of what is likely the biggest financial investment you’ll make. Hire a qualified inspector and if at all possible, be present at the inspection.
- Consult an expert. Whether you seek a hi-rise condo in the city or a charming cottage in the suburbs, your wallet and peace of mind will benefit from a partnership with an experienced Realtor.
Are you ready to take the ultimate test drive? I’m happy to help you take the next steps or chat about your options. Call me or drop a line to get started.