Looking For A New Home? Here’s What To Do Before Calling A Real Estate Agent
Evaluating the real estate market for a new home isn’t easy. In fact, there’s so much that goes into searching for houses for sale that there’s an entire career and licensing board dedicated to the practice! However, you don’t have to be a real estate agent to start researching homes for sale. Below are a few basic tips to get you started so that when you do eventually turn to a professional, you’ll be adequately empowered.
Step 1: Know What You’re Looking For
This seems obvious, but when pressed, most people simply say something like “I’m looking into buying a new home big enough for my family” or “I want good building land.” If you’re going to critically evaluate the real estate market for a new home, you’re going to have to get more specific. Some questions to ask yourself to narrow down your preferences include:
-Do I want to see single family homes or homes big enough for guests/relatives?
-Are gated communities, planned communities, or master planned communities on the table?
-Do I want a rural, urban, or suburban feel to my new home?
-Is a back yard a must? What about storage space? A laundry room? Updated appliances?
– Am I attached to a modern aesthetic, or am I more at home with an antique, romantic look?
Step 2: Know Where You’re Looking
This will of course depend on your work and family obligations. However if you’re a retiree, you might have some substantial options for relocation when evaluating the real estate market for a new home. Don’t be afraid to consider moving out of state. You might find that other states, such as Florida, have lower income tax and special incentives for homeowners that will keep your living costs low long into the future. Another oft-forgotten and yet vitally important feature that will very much depend on your geographical location is the weather. Do you want to be warm, or are you hearty and don’t mind the cold? Some other questions related to geography include:
-What’s the neighborhood like?
-What do people seem to do for fun?
-What sorts of goods and services do you have access to in this market?
-Are there multiple options for transportation?
-What are the trending predictions for this community?
Step 3: Know Your Budget And Research Their Value
There’s nothing like doing your budget and exploring your financing options to manage your expectations. Nonetheless, we recommend using the financial bottom line as the primary way to narrow down your short list. See what sort of loans you qualify for, check on your IRA, raid your 401k — whatever the plan is, know it. And then dig into your favorite communities’ finances to discover what the real estate you want is really worth. A few ways to do this include:
-Checking American FactFinder for community trends
-Reading the publically available annual financial report for the region you’re searching
-Doing casual Google and Wikipedia searches of the name to see if any worrying news stories or scandals pop up
-Word of mouth inquiries
Once you’ve taken these three independent steps in evaluating the real estate market for a new home, you will be in a much better position to meet a real estate agent halfway and increase your chances of finding a true home match.