Buying a new house can be both an exciting and stressful project. Whether you're buying your first home or have already been through the process of buying a house in the past, it is important to be prepared if you want the process to go smoothly. Use the following tips to help ensure that you narrow down the homes for sale and select the perfect house for your family:
Know What You Can Afford
It is not in your best interest to even start looking at real estate listings until you have been pre-approved for a mortgage. After going through the mortgage pre-approval process, you will be offered a loan amount and will know exactly how much you can afford to spend. Taking the time to get pre-approved can help ensure that you don't look at or fall in love with a home that is way above your price point.
Carefully Select a Real Estate Agent
An experienced real estate agent is a major resource when you're looking to buy a home. It is a good idea to select an agent who specializes in working with buyers—he or she will most likely be very experienced in negotiations and all of the details involved in purchasing a house.
Don't be afraid to meet with several real estate agents before deciding on who to work with. One of the best things about buyers' agents is the fact that their commission is paid by the owner of the house for sale, so their services don't cost you anything out of pocket.
Figure Out Your Must-Haves
Unless you have the budget to build a custom home, there is a good chance that you won't find a house for sale that has every single feature and amenity that you have ever wanted. A useful way to narrow down your choices is by making a list of the features that a home absolutely must have.
For example, you may need a certain number of bedrooms to accommodate your family, or you may need your home to be in a certain school district so your kids don't have to switch schools. Share your must-have list with your real estate agent so he or she can help select homes that meet your criteria.
Don't Be Too Picky
A major mistake that many buyers make is rejecting a home because of cosmetic issues. Things like paint colors on the wall can easily be changed, so you should not let something cosmetic influence your decision on a home that may otherwise be exactly what you want.