Looking for a new house is exciting, but there are a few things that you need to keep in mind as you begin your search.
1. Make sure your finances are in order.
In addition to saving money for a down payment on your new home, you need to get the rest of your finances in order before you start your house hunt. Check your credit score and clear up any negative information or discrepancies on it. You may need to pay off an old debt or pay down a new one to get your score where it needs to be. Experts state that revolving debt, or credit cards, should be at 10 percent of the credit limit or lower to get the best credit score.
2. Know that you can spend less.
Meet with a mortgage lender before starting your house hunt. You will want to get pre-approved to purchase a home. You need this approval before you start looking in order to know how much you are approved to spend on a new house. It is important to note, however, that you do not need to spend the entire amount. If you are approved for a $300,000 mortgage but are more comfortable affording the payment for a $200,000 mortgage, it is ok to spend less. Living slightly below your means is a wise financial decision.
3. Work with a real estate agent.
Working with a real estate professional is also a wise choice when you are looking at real estate for sale. A buyer's agent, a real estate agent who works exclusively with homebuyers, can save you thousands of dollars when negotiating on the sale of a home. In addition to saving you money on the purchase of a new home, it is free to work with a buyer's agent. The seller pays for the commission of both the listing agent and the buyer's agent at closing.
4. Don't look for perfection.
House hunting, or looking at real estate for sale, is an exciting time in everyone's life. It is important to realize that no home will ever be perfect. You can't have a list of wants that is a mile long and expect to find them all in one house. Instead, you need to prioritize what you absolutely need (four bedrooms for the children) with extras that you really want (a craft room for all your supplies). You also need to look beyond the dubious design choices of the current homeowner. Ignore their furniture and knick-knacks and remember that paint and wallpaper are both easy to replace.
Understanding your budget, knowing what you are looking for in a house, and working with a real estate agent are important first steps to every house hunt.