Steps To Take When Shopping for a New Home

Starting to look for a new home to purchase is an exciting time, but it can also be a stressful one. You may feel like you need to stay on top of a dozen different things at once, and it doesn't help that there's a lot of money riding on the decisions you make. Use this guide to help you walk through the process one step at a time.

1. Get to know some neighborhoods in the areas you're considering buying so you have an idea of what types of homes are available. In addition to walking and driving through the neighborhoods at different times of the day and night, consider proximity to things like shopping, entertainment, schools, and your workplace.

2. Call a lender to get pre-approved for a mortgage so you know what your price range is as you shop for a home. Lenders will consider your income, assets, credit history, and current debt obligations to determine what you can afford to borrow. Remember that you don't have to borrow the full amount you're approved for, so consider your comfort level, too. Once you're pre-approved, sellers will take your offer much more seriously.

Steps To Take When Shopping for a New Home

3. Choose a real estate agent who knows your area and can show you homes you're interested in. Ask around for recommendations or keep an eye out for ads to learn who the top agents are in your area. Don't be afraid to try several agents at first before signing a contract with one. You can even drop into open houses in your area to meet several agents on a very informal basis and start your search for the right agent.

4. Look at homes in all parts of your price range so you can get an idea of what is available. As you better understand what you're looking for, ask your agent to narrow your search by neighborhood, price, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and other amenities like outdoor living space, a garage, or remodeled kitchens and bathrooms.

5. Make an offer based on what the home is actually worth, not necessarily what the listing price is. Sellers often overprice homes when they aren't aware of market value. Your real estate agent can provide you with a list of comparable properties that have sold recently in the area and help you analyze how the one you're looking at is different and how that affects what it's worth.

6. Keep in touch with your real estate agent after you have an accepted offer on the home. Your agent will tell you each of the things you need to be doing, which may include getting an inspection, shopping around for a lender and applying for a mortgage, choosing a title company, and getting a homeowners insurance policy in place. You should never hesitate to call your agent, and later your loan officer and title company representative, whenever you have questions leading up to closing!
About the Author:

Bethany Samuelson writes about homes, remodeling, and mortgages.

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