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5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search

5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search

In today’s 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. Here are five tips from realtor.com’s article, “How to Find Your Dream Home—Without Losing Your Mind.”

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

One way to show you’re serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage. Even if you’re 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 will help you avoid the disappointment of falling in love with a home well outside your price range.

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

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

Every neighborhood has unique charm. Before you commit to a home based solely on the house itself, take a test-drive of the area. Make sure it 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 will best serve those needs. Just because you’ve narrowed your search to a zip code doesn’t mean you need to tour every listing in that vicinity. 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 and making notes on the listing sheet to document what you love and don’t love about each property you visit.

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.

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6 replies
  1. Angela Waterford
    Angela Waterford says:

    I’m still not entirely sure what I should look for in a residential home because I’ve been used to living with my parents, and they said to me that I should move out next year so I can pursue my dream of becoming a pastry chef. Thanks for the tip that I should start listing the features of a home that are must-haves for me so I can use them as pointers in looking for my future home. I think I’ll try to hire someone to help me search for homes for sale so I’ll have a faster time buying the one that I really want.

  2. Sabrina Addams
    Sabrina Addams says:

    I appreciated your idea to take a test-drive around the area of a home before buying it to see if it has the commute and school district you are looking for. I’m looking to buy a bigger home for me and my two girls since they are getting older. I’ll use this advice and try to find a professional to help me find homes for sale in Fairbanks.

  3. rachel frampton
    rachel frampton says:

    I’ve been planning to buy a residential home, that’s why I’m currently looking for one. I agree with you that it is necessary to get pre-approved for a mortgage. I’ll also keep in mind to take a test drive around the prospective home’s neighborhood before making any final decisions.

  4. Jesse Ford
    Jesse Ford says:

    I like how you mentioned that you should stroll around the area where you wish to buy a home because neighborhoods have unique charms to each of them. My wife and I are thinking of looking at properties for sale because we’re considering having more kids and we’ll need more space for them to grow up in. It seems like a good idea for us to think about hiring a reputable professional to help us find the best house for us to accommodate our family properly.

  5. Adam Golightly
    Adam Golightly says:

    My cousin just got married and she really wants to make sure that she can have a space of her own to build a family. Getting some help from a professional could be really useful to find a place within their budget. I liked what you said about how they should look at getting a mortgage, and get pre-approved so that they know where to look.

  6. Rachel Frampton
    Rachel Frampton says:

    My cousin Leo would like to buy his new home this year, which is why he has decided to start looking for a real estate agent. Well, you made a pretty good point that he must consider the place’s amenities, school districts, and commute. Anyhow, you are also right that he must evaluate his home needs first before making any final decisions.


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