Shopping for homes for sale can be exciting, especially at first. But as time goes on and you can't find the right place or the right price, it can get exhausting and frustrating. No one wants to house hunt endlessly – eventually, you want to find the place that you like and can afford and get on with your life. If you're looking for a way to wrap up the house hunt and get down to the part where you move into your dream home, there are a few things you can do to hasten the process along. Check out these tips that will make all the difference to your hunt for a home.
Every house you're going to see is going to have different features. Which ones are the most important to you? Make a list of all the features that you want your home to have. Then pick out the top three or five features – the ones that you absolutely will not buy a house without. Maybe you have to have three bedrooms, or office space, or a swimming pool. Whatever your most important criteria is, put it on the list.
Then only see homes that meet at least those top three or five priorities. If you must have three bedrooms, tell your real estate agent not to bother showing you any two bedrooms, no matter what else they have to offer. Insisting that all of the homes that you look at meet at least a minimum standard of your top three priorities means that you'll spend a lot less time looking at houses that you would never end up moving into.
Get A Preapproval
In 2012, less than ten percent of homebuyers had a preapproval letter. But a preapproval lets sellers know that you're actually a motivated buyer, and that you're not just "kicking the tires" so to speak. Plus, many real estate agents and sellers won't even take offers from buyers who don't have a preapproval letter. Why would they? Without it, they can't tell whether the sale will ever go through or not. Having that preapproval letter allows you to move fast when you do find a house that you like.
Getting preapproved also gives you a budget to work with. It would be a shame to have your heart set on a particular home, only to find out too late that you can't get a loan to cover it. Knowing what amount of money you're approved for ensures that you're looking at homes within your price range. You can't count on being approved for the same amount as someone you know who is in a similar tax bracket. A lot depends on your individual situation. Getting a preapproval letter lets you know exactly where you stand.
Look Beyond Staging
Staging – filling a house with rented furniture and accessories to make it look appealing and lived-in, even though no one lives there – is a common real estate sales technique. There's nothing wrong with it, but furniture can hide a lot of flaws and imperfections that you'd see if the house was empty. Avoid getting caught up in a house that looks good only because of the staging.
Look under the rugs and behind the furniture – is the staging covering up stains, or rotten wood, or a complete lack of outlets in the living room? Check out areas not likely to be affected by staging – under the sinks, in the closets and drawers, in the attic or basement. Examine the ceiling for wet spots and take a good look at the floors. Make sure that the house you're looking at is something that you really want to take a second look at, and that you're not falling for artfully arranged furniture.
By sticking to your priorities, knowing your budget, and shopping smart, you can cut out a whole lot of wasted time walking through empty houses. The sooner you put a plan in place to speed things up, the sooner you'll be in your new home.