Figure out what you can afford. Think carefully about all the costs of owning a home — not just the down payment and mortgage. Don’t forget about homeowners association fees, maintenance costs, taxes, and private mortgage insurance, if you need it. Be honest with yourself and us about how much you are willing and able to spend. It’s best to be preapproved or at least prequalified for a certain mortgage amount before you start home shopping.
If you’re in a hurry to find a new place, we need to know. If you have plenty of time to search, we will handle that differently, perhaps sending periodic listings that match your exact wish list. The specific real estate market you are looking to buy in changes with time, which influences the information and guidance we give you.
Tell us where you want to live, being as specific as possible. It may be a larger search, such as a radius around a specific location, it may be a particular town or city, or it may be as specific as a single neighborhood. Also, let us know if you need to be close to public transportation or in a specific school district. We may know of an alternative location that you may not have considered.
Type and Size
Do you want a single-family home, a condominium, or some other type of property? Size is also an important factor. For example, how many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Do you have certain square footage in mind? Do you want a small yard or acreage? Think about how much space you need and what is right for your lifestyle. Are you planning for a large family? Do you want to maintain a large home or piece of land?
It’s a good idea to create a wish list and rank items from most to least important. You may have a certain style of home that you prefer. Many people want a home that is move-in ready. There may be amenities that are important to you. Some of the most common wish list items include updated kitchens and bathrooms, hardwood floors, open floor plans, and big yards. Depending on this list, you might be able to find a home that satisfies all your wants and needs for the right price. But often, buyers need to make tradeoffs.
All homebuyers have certain things they just can’t live with — or without — in a home. Maybe it’s being located next to a busy road or having a driveway on a hill. Or perhaps you must have at least three bedrooms. Whatever your deal breakers might be, tell us upfront. This will save you a lot of time and effort on properties you would have not wasted time on.