Congratulations - you have found the Realtor you want to use - and you have talked to lenders and gotten pre approved for a mortgage. You know how much home you can afford! You may have been doing a lot of pre-house hunting research, such as driving around various neighborhoods, looking at the various real estate websites to see what homes are currently for sale!
Now you are probably ready to take that next step! And that next step can be the fun part of buying a home - and that is finding the home of your dreams!
If you are like most home buyers that I work with, you are probably doing a lot of research online - and that can be a window shoppers dream come true! But a word of caution here - those online listings most likely don't give you a complete picture of the home! The only way to really get a true picture of the house is actually visit the home in person! Remember - what you see online can be like a Cliff Notes version of your dream home and dream neighborhood!
So what are the steps to finding that home of your dreams?
Decide on your Needs and Wants List!
There are lots of things you may want in a house. But depending on your price range and the area you want to be in, you may or may not be able to get all those things in the home of your dreams! But there may be some things that are just non-negotiable! For instance, if you have 2 kids, you may absolutely need a 3 bedroom home - 2 bedrooms just won't do!
Have your Realtor set up a search link for you into MLS!
Your Realtor can set this up for you and whenever there is a new listing, a price reduction or a back on the market listing that meets your criteria, you will get an immediate email. Take a look at the house and decide if this is a house that you will want to see!
Mark the properties on your MLS link as Favorites, Possibilities, Trash!
When you get an email, you have the chance to go into your portal and decide if this is a home that you absolutely want to see, maybe you want to see or there is no way you want to see! Your Realtor can check that portal every day to help you decide if you do want to see that home! Perhaps your Realtor knows a little bit about the house that you can't find in the MLS listing information! Or perhaps the condition won't allow it to qualify for your financing! If the home seems like it could work for you then you will definitely want to get out and see it!
Set up showing times with your Realtor!
In this market where we continue to have very limited inventory in some areas, getting out and seeing a home that looks like it could work for you as soon as possible may mean the difference between being able to purchase the home and not being able to purchase it!
See the home with your Realtor!
You should go see the home with your Realtor! But keep in mind the following tips:
Sellers may need 24 hour notice if the home is still occupied
Wear comfortable shoes that can easily come on and off - some sellers request no shoes to be worn in the house
Dress for the weather
Don't assume that the bathroom will be available - some sellers have water turned off
Don't touch furniture or any personal items - you don't want to be responsible for any breakage
Keep an eye on the kids & remind them not to play with the toys or touch any pets
Some homes have nanny cams, so watch what you say
Drive the neighborhood at different times of the day!
You may have already done so, but if you find a house you like and are considering making an offer on, you may wish to drive the neighborhood at different times of the day and night! You are not only buying a house, but also buying a neighborhood, so making sure that the neighborhood is one you and your family will love for years to come may be very important to you!
Visit the schools - if this is important to you!
If you have kids and the schools that your children will be attending is important to you, then make an appointment with the principals of the schools. They are more than happy to show you around and answer any questions you may have about their school!
Talk to the police about crime in the area - if this is important to you!
Remember that in Virginia, Megan's law means that you have the right to check the state police website for any offenders that may be in the neighborhood! But if you do it after you have a ratified contract, this is not a contingency that you have the right to terminate a contract on! And if you are concerned about the crime in the neighborhood or area, the local police are a great resource to let you know just what is going on in the area!
Have your Realtor do a Market Analysis to determine if it is priced well!
Knowing how well the house is priced to begin with is important when deciding how you want to structure your offer! How long the house has been on the market, what other homes have sold for in the neighborhood with similar condition, what work needs to be done, will it qualify for your financing! All of these things are important to know when you are deciding how to structure your offer!
Remember - finding a home is not like on HGTV's House Hunters!
Looking at homes can be fun - but it can also be very grueling! On House Hunters, the buyers look at 3 houses and then decide on 1. But the chances of you looking at only 3 houses before finding that one house that is your dream house is probably not going to happen! So be prepared - but remember, the house that you will ultimately want to buy will be there for you!
Now that you have found the right house, the right Realtor and the right Lender, now you will want to prepare your offer!
Have questions? Thinking of buying a home? Feel free to contact me at 804-869-1191 or email me at BReagan2@gmail.com and I would be happy to talk!