Step 1: Defining What You Want
Start by creating a prioritized list of features you want in your next home and the reasons why. Use it as your search guide, but remember that depending on your funding, you will probably need to make some compromises. In addition, talk to your real estate professional about where you want to live. Location is a huge part of any move. CENTURY 21 professionals are trained to help their clients narrow down their choices by sharing market trends and local information like neighborhood statistics and community links.
Step 2: Figuring Out What You Can Afford
Now that you know what you want, it's time to see what you can afford. You can start by crunching the numbers yourself using our mortgage calculator.
When you're ready to move to the next step, you can get pre-approved for a mortgage. This process can often be performed in under an hour and it accomplishes two important goals. First, it will tell you how much house you can afford and what your monthly payments would be. Second, it tells the seller that you can afford to buy their home.
By definition, a pre-approved buyer has an approved mortgage subject to an appraisal of the property. Many times a buyer can use this pre-approved status as leverage during the negotiation process.
Step 3: Shopping For Homes
Once you know what community you'd like to live in and have an idea of how much house you can afford, its time to start checking out actual properties. Beginning this search online can help save you time since it can help you target homes that meet your search criteria. Our Century 21 House Calls can even email you when properties come on the market that meet your search criteria.
Next, begin visiting homes in person. Ask your local real estate professional to arrange visits and attend open houses that are in your target area and price range. When comparing homes, make sure to look at all aspects of the property. Is the property tax approximately the same? Are both the houses renovated? Do they both have the same amount of bedrooms and bathrooms? Are both houses located on the same or similar streets? Does either house have any encumbrances?
Remember to keep an open mind when you are looking at homes. Use a virtual home planner to help you imagine what the house could become with you as the owner. Also use our Home Search Checklist so you can record each home's features, as well as your thoughts, for your review later.