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Starting the Search for Your Dream Home? Here Are 5 Tips!

In today’s real estate market, low inventory dominates the
conversation in many areas of the country. It can often be frustrating
to be a first-time homebuyer if you aren’t prepared.

In a realtor.com article entitled, “How to Find Your Dream Home—Without Losing Your Mind,”
the author highlights some steps that first-time homebuyers can take to
help carry their excitement of buying a home throughout the whole
process.

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before You Start Your Search

One way to show you are serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved
for a mortgage before starting your search. Even if you are in a market
that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the
confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your
reach.

This step will also help you narrow your search based on
your budget and won’t leave you disappointed if the home you tour, and
love, ends up being outside your budget!

2. Know the Difference Between Your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Would-Like-To-Haves’

Do
you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with
your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a
necessity? Could the ‘man cave’ of your dreams be a future renovation
project instead of a make-or-break right now?

Before you start your search, list all the features of a home you would like and then qualify them as ‘must-haves’, ‘should-haves’, or ‘absolute-wish list’ items. This will help keep you focused on what’s most important.

3. Research and Choose a Neighborhood You Want to Live In

Every
neighborhood has its own charm. Before you commit to a home based
solely on the house itself, the article suggests test-driving the area.
Make sure that the area meets your needs for “amenities, commute, school district, etc. and then spend a weekend exploring before you commit.”

4. Pick a House Style You Love and Stick to It

Evaluate your family’s needs and settle on a style of home
that would best serve those needs. Just because you’ve narrowed your
search to a zip code, doesn’t mean that you need to tour every listing
in that zip code.

An example from the article says, “if you
have several younger kids and don’t want your bedroom on a different
level, steer clear of Cape Cod–style homes, which typically feature two
or more bedrooms on the upper level and the master on the main.”

5. Document Your Home Visits

Once
you start touring homes, the features of each individual home will
start to blur together. The article suggests keeping your camera handy
to document what you love and don’t love about each property you visit.

Making
notes on the listing sheet as you tour the property will also help you
remember what the photos mean, or what you were feeling while touring
the home.

Bottom Line

In a high-paced,
competitive environment, any advantage you can give yourself will help
you on your path to buying your dream home.