Most borrowers are looking at preowned homes. Even if new buildings are popular in your area, lot size, location, and price can all lead you to choosing a preowned home instead. But what should you be looking for? Here are some tips to help you through the process.
#1 Windshield Shop To Target Home-Buying Efforts BEFORE Talking To A Real Estate Agent
Apps like Zillow and Redfin will probably become your new best friend! These will help you see the latest listings in your area and filter by size, location, and price point. Do a drive-by of the homes you are interested in before contacting a realtor. This will save you both time.
However, realize that only the real estate agent's official MLS (Multiple Listing Service) will have a complete database of all the homes on the market. Especially in a hot housing market, some homes will be listed and sold before they ever make it to public sites like Zillow.
#2 Don’t Fall In Love Completely Before Buying
In other words, don’t spend so much time being lured by seeing yourself in your “dream home,” you’ll overlook valuable signals and may ignore warning signs that show why it’s not the right house for you.
Remain realistic and save your rose-colored glasses for another day. Home buying requires a certain level of scrutiny in order for you to truly end up in a home you love. That means you shouldn't utter the words "I'm tired of looking, let's just go with this one!" If you are exhausted from the home search, take a break and revisit when you are mentally ready again to ensure you make the smart choice.
#3 Look At 100 Houses Minimum
When you preview at least 100 houses minimum, you get a true sense of what the real estate market is like at the time of your house hunting and what the inventory is like. It’ll help you identify certain parameters you care about (neighborhoods, HOA requirements, etc.).
Now, this doesn't mean drag your agent out to 100 properties. Instead, you can preview about 90% of them online and likely narrow down what fits your criteria and what doesn't. Have your agent show you the top 10% of houses on your list.
#4 Hire An Experienced Home Inspector
You want someone who’ll tell you what you need to know, not what you want to hear. There are many great places to find a home inspector. Do your due diligence and ask around. Your agent can suggest some, but be confident that there are no conflicts of interest. In fact, it’s best to flat-out ask if they have any prior relationship to your agent, your lender, or the home’s owner.
If you’re already in the search process and want to get pre-approved or pre-qualified for a loan, our team of mortgage experts at Horizon FHA Loans is always here to help.