House hunting in the US is one of the most crucial steps in the home-buying process. Finding the right home is not as easy as it feels. Factors such as location, site, neighborhood, budgeting, etc, need consideration when hunting for an ideal home. A lot of buyers end up putting in offers out of frustration when they’re unable to find a suitable house that fits all their needs.
According to the National Association of Realtors, it takes most buyers a time frame of ten weeks on average before they find the right home. In the midst of all of this, it’s easy to lose track of what sort of home best suits your budget and lifestyle. We have compiled a list of house hunting do’s and dont’s that you need to keep in mind when hunting for the ideal home!
Let’s start our discussion with the list of potential DO’S to ensure you know your way through the hunting process!
1- Do Focus On The Right Location
The first and foremost task of house hunting starts with selecting the right location. One can change any other imperfection regarding your house, but the one thing you cannot change is the location. Consider the accessibility of the potential house to other things. For example distance to your workplace, ease of access, noise from neighbours, traffic, and pets. Lastly, access to parks, shops, schools, and public transit. Having a home in a good location also increases its value over time.
2- Do a Search For Good Neighborhoods
Is the house you desire perfect to what you imagined, but has an unsafe and untidy neighbourhood? You will quickly start feeling annoyed once you settle in. Make sure the neighbourhood you select is safe for your children to play around in and for you to walk, jog, or bike. Look for an area that is organized, neat, and tidy. Ensure that the people in your surroundings are welcoming.
3- Do Get Access To Multiple Listing Service
You’re going to hear the term “multiple listing service” a lot in your home search. A multiple listing service (MLS) is a private database of available houses for sale. Usually, real estate experts have access to MLS for up-to-date status information. It also allows them to present a bigger number of houses to their own buyers. Use MLS service for a better house-hunting search.
4- Do Stick To Your Budget
You must ensure that you do not become carried away by how much you want the potential property. Make sure to stick to your budget. Decide what you can afford and how much you want to spend. You should have an idea of what the maximum price for a property is. Keep in mind all of your relocation expenses, as well as the stamp duty. Work out how much you believe the home is worth before making an offer. A little research into similar property prices might save you hundreds of pounds.
5- Do Save For The Down Payment
Setting aside a budget for a down payment is crucial for keeping you financially afloat. If you save less than 10%–20%, the additional money you’ll pay in interest and fees will strangle you financially. To avoid paying private mortgage insurance (PMI) for the life of the loan, a 20% down payment is preferable. Use a mortgage calculator to enter your down payment and compare different property prices within your budget.
6- Do Look Out For House’s Curb Appeal
When house hunting, do look for a house whose curb appeal suits your lifestyle. Take a look at the features on the outside. Unless you reside in an earthquake-prone location, for example, a brick home is easier to maintain. Check to see if the roof is in excellent shape. Is the landscape appealing, and are the walkways leading to the house in good condition? All these factors need consideration when hunting for the ideal home.
Now that we have discussed what to do when hunting for a house, let’s discuss what you DO NOT need to do.
7- Do Keep Other Costs In Mind
Keep in mind not to become so fixated on the listing price that you overlook all of the additional fees that come with purchasing a home. Inquire about utility costs and what sort of insurance is necessary for the property. Insurance demands and sky-high heating expenditures might reveal flaws that are less visible on a walkthrough. For example, inadequate insulation or fire hazards.
8- Don’t Skip Pre-Approval
Buying a home starts with getting a mortgage pre-approval. Considering your credit score and income, know what you can afford and what the bank can lend you. It’s best to get approval from a bank first. A pre-approval letter demonstrates to a seller that you are a competitive buyer with strong financial standing. This can offer you an advantage over other possible purchasers who haven’t yet received a letter. Selecting a house out of your budget and finding out later that the bank won’t lend to you will only waste everyone’s time.
9- Don’t Forget To Use A Real Estate Agent
A real estate agent helps you navigate your way through the market, especially if it’s a hot seller. A good real estate agent can assist you in moving quickly and making a competitive offer. They also have better access to listings. Starting with a seller’s agent before contacting your own agency may not put you in the greatest negotiation position.
10- Don’t Think Only Of The Present
When looking for a home, don’t only consider what your family requires right now. Consider what you’ll require in the future. If you intend to have two children in the future, don’t get a one or two-bedroom house. You could require three bedrooms in such a case. You should also consider school districts sooner rather than later. Prevent the hassle of selling the present home and house hunting for a newer one by thinking about long-term needs.
11- Don’t Overlook Defects
Don’t underestimate the effort it takes to correct flaws and defects in a house. When you’re in a rush, the desperation may lead you to buy a house that requires a lot of work on repairing its defects and flaws. For example, if you believe you can do the job yourself, any repairs or improvements you planned would almost certainly cost twice as much once labour is included. Before buying a house that isn’t move-in ready, consider your ability, your budget, and how quickly you need to relocate.
12- Don’t Say No Because Of Cosmetic Issues
Many buyers take the “first impression is the last impression” too seriously. Even though the first impression does have the tendency to affect your decision, forget this saying during house hunting. A lot of times cosmetic aspects of the house can turn you off, such as outdated wallpaper, ugly furniture, or horrible carpeting. Rather, see if the house has a strong foundation. Cosmetic issues can always be fixed and they are rather inexpensive.
13- Don’t Rush The Offer
Many buyers rush into putting in an offer with the fear of missing out, especially in this year’s market where demand and competition are high. Don’t forget to take the required precaution. For example, make sure the neighborhood is right for you. Visit it both day and night to make sure it’s safe and sound. Look into potential noise concerns, such as a nearby train. See how long it takes to commute from the place at different hours.
14- Don’t Skip The Home Inspection
Despite the home appraisal, don’t forget to skip the home inspections. Even though the seller is required by law to provide you with a seller’s disclosure form, they can still forget to omit some defects. The home inspector will inform you of any problems with the roof, plumbing, electrical system, or other major aspects. An inspection will reveal any flaws in the home. This allows you to determine whether to close, bargain, or walk away from the deal.
Start Your House Hunting Today With Regentology
If you haven’t begun your hunt yet, start it today with Regentology. We understand that searching for and buying the ideal home is a lengthy and complex task. Let us simplify this complexity for you. Our team of professionals is available to connect you with the best real estate agents in your region. They’ll assist you in searching for the right properties and land you the best offer. So, all you have to do is fill out the form to be contacted by our representative right away!