While others are out searching for Easter eggs, will you be on the hunt for a new home? The two hunts aren’t all that unalike, taking you into unfamiliar terrain where what you seek feels hidden from sight. So, let’s look at a few ways to make your Easter time home search easier.
Things You Should Do While House Hunting
- Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage. If you only follow one tip in your hunt for a house, this should be it. Mortgage pre-approval sets serious buyers apart from those who are “just looking.” Many sellers don’t even consider offers from buyers who don’t have the security of likely financing that pre-approval provides. Plus, pre-approval gives you a very good idea of what you can afford, saving you time and frustration in considering homes you can’t.
- Make a Must-Have List. Do some serious soul-searching here — separate the wants from the needs. Of course, must-haves are as diverse as buyers themselves, but many people consider things like commute time to work, the number of bedrooms, and the size of the kitchen as must-haves. A pool is often a want, while things like a home office or a good school district are often needs. Once you have your list of must-haves, the house hunting will be more focused.
- Shop and Shop Some More. Even though demand is high, and inventory is low, historically speaking, there are still sure to be lots of homes that fit what you’re looking for. Instead of letting competition force you into making a rash purchase, take the time to consider as many options as you can. Just don’t be leisurely about it.
- Explore the Neighborhood. Gauging the level of traffic you’ll have is important; this can affect your quality of life. Talk to the neighbors. Check out the zoning laws you’ll be living under. Don’t just consider what the neighborhood is now, but what it may be, as development could considerably change that location. Once you’re serious about a location, you might even consider a mini-vacation and spend a few nights at a hotel there, exploring your would-be neighborhood during the days.
- Understand Patience Vs Inaction. This is a tricky one. You want to take the time to consider all the factors before making one of the most important purchases of your life. And you also don’t want hesitation to make you lose out in a fast-moving market. A good real estate agent can help you to know when to pull the trigger on an offer and when to hold back.
- Check Out Some Amazing Apps. Why not combine your love of scrolling through content on your phone with your hunt for a home? There are some great apps that make it simple. A few of the top ones include the Zillow app, with its much-touted Zestimate feature, estimating the values of homes with remarkable accuracy. Trulia’s app gets points for its user-friendly maps, showing important data such as crime rate, weather, and traffic, while the Realtor.com app features new listings just about every hour.
- Think Long Term. If you’re like many, you picture yourself living in your dream home right now. And that’s great; homes should suit current lifestyles. But where will you be in five, ten, or 20 years? Data from the National Association of Realtors shows that on average people stay in homes for about 13 years, and that in large metropolitan areas that number goes up to 16 years and higher. Is this the home you see your future self in? If there’s a chance your family will grow with children, you should consider looking for a house with more bedrooms and bathrooms than you need right now. As this is a long-term investment, it’s a good idea to investigate whether the homes in the neighborhood have gained or lost value, and by how much.
Things You Shouldn’t Do While House Hunting
- Look Beyond Your Budget. What’s wrong with just taking a few peeks at homes you can’t possibly afford? Just to see what the houses beyond your price range are like. Bad idea. You’re apt to fall in love with something you can’t pay for, then somehow justify that maybe you can afford it, ultimately putting you in a bad financial spot. And if you buy the home that you can afford after dreaming of ones you can’t, you may feel unsatisfied with a home that should otherwise be quite satisfying.
- Go it Alone. You may be driving down a street and see an open house sign. Nothing wrong with a solo pop-in, right? Wrong. If you’re serious about buying a house, you should always have enlisted a broker or real estate agent before you do any in-person visits to properties. You don’t want to risk getting into any kind of discussion with the seller’s agent without having an agent of your own.
- Fall for a Fixer-Upper. Unless that’s what you want. If you understand the time, energy, budget, and skills that are needed for home renovations and repairs, you can judge whether a home that’s in need of work is worth it. Otherwise, avoid houses with major flaws that you’ll have to fix — distinguishing between what you can fix and what you can’t is an essential tool of house-hunting.
- Succumb to Spring Fever. Much of the motivation behind the surge in home sales we see around Easter is psychological; spring represents change, the cold of winter giving way to warmer weather, bluer skies, and new growth. With greener lawns and flowers in bloom, houses simply look better at this time of the year. And the Easter season could be the best time for you to find a new home. But if not, patience may be your best friend, reminding you summer and fall may also be good times to buy. After all, we are living in a year-round homebuying season.
And no matter where your hunt takes you, from loan pre-approval to closing, City Lending is ready with a big basketful of mortgage options guaranteed to meet your lending needs.