Develop a shopping list of "needs" and "wants" to help your real estate agent set up homes to look at.
Looking for a new home can be a very exciting experience, but it can also be a very time-consuming, stressful process.
Before you begin house hunting, there are some things you can do that might make the process go a little smoother. Initially, you'll want to determine how much house you can afford. Our Financing Page offers suggestions and resources on how to answer this question and where to explore home loan options.
Then, you'll have to determine your preferred location and the style of home and features that you "need" and/or "want" based on your lifestyle, family size, etc. It is important to develop a realistic "shopping list" for a home to narrow the choices of properties that you will want to look at with a real estate agent.
First, make a "wish list" of everything that you want in a home. Then, determine which of these "wants" are really essential "needs" for your family.
Now you're ready to evaluate all homes that you look at to determine which first most closely meets your "needs," and then, hopefully, meets many of your "wants." Your home-buying budget will determine how many of your "wants" you can afford in a house that meets your "needs." Even if a particular house that most closely meets your "needs" doesn't have many of your "wants," look at its potential to add these preferred features later.
As you start looking at houses, it's helpful to make detailed notes/comments on the flyers/fact sheets of each listing so you can later recall specific features and evaluate each house based on your "needs" and "wants." Look at several houses so you can compare the one that you like most to others in the same price range or with similar features, just as you would comparison shop for other goods. This will help you decide which home meets your "needs," and hopefully many of your "wants," and what price to offer.