Our special thanks to Stephanie Hofman of Stephanie Hofman Homes for contributing this article to our LOVE YOUR HOME MONTH theme.
It’s February, the month of love…so this blog is all about how to find a home you love, and will love years to come.
♥ Have your financial ducks in a row. Make sure you know what you can and cannot spend. Think about the taxes, moving costs, closing costs and costs of improvements to a new home that will be involved in your purchase. Speak with a reputable lender and get pre-approved before you begin your home search—a pre-approval letter will expedite the process once you find a home you’d like to pursue.
♥ Create a “wish list.” Know what your priorities are and, if you are purchasing a home with a spouse or partner, make sure you are on the same page—or at least in the same book! Define what’s non-negotiable and what you can compromise on.
♥ Work with a Realtor®. As a buyer, it costs you nothing to work with a Realtor®. Nada. It’s free. You get someone to do your homework for you, provide access to homes for sale, negotiate the deal, and basically provide expertise, guidance and education throughout the entire process. For free. But more importantly, the risk of costly mistakes that can be made by not having a professional looking out for you can be high.
♥ Investigate the neighborhoods you are interested in. Spend a weekend afternoon in the area to see who your neighbors are, and ask them questions about the area. Clock the distance from your potential home to important places: schools, shopping, your workplace. Check out the website for your new city and see what kind of services they provide. Are you religious? Maybe you want to see how many churches or synagogues are in the area. Is there vacant land nearby? Find out if it’s zoned for commercial or residential building—you don’t want to find out your new home is smack in the middle of the traffic pattern for a new Costco! Is your new home close to a main road? Listen to the noise volume both outside and inside the home. Finding the right location and neighborhood is essential to finding the right home!
♥ Commit to buying a home. With the crumbling of the housing market in the mid-2000s, we learned one important lesson: our homes are a place to live, laugh, love, raise our families and create memories. Our homes are not meant to be a bank or ATM. Look at this purchase as a long-term one, —don’t buy now unless you plan to stay in that home for at least five years. In addition to likely being the largest asset you will own, your home should be a place that you enjoy waking up in and coming back to every day.
Use these tips for help finding the home you will fall in love with. For more advice on buying a home you’ll love, contact Stephanie at [email protected].