You’ve found a Bear Agent you feel comfortable working with and you’ve been pre-qualified or pre-approved by a lender so you know exactly how much home you can afford. Now comes the fun part (and the hard part) it’s time to start looking! So, from the hundreds of potential homes to buy, where do you start?
Choosing a neighborhood. . .One way to begin this process is by first identifying what neighborhoods are right for you. Factors to consider when evaluating a neighborhood are:
- Quality of schools
- Property values
- Crime rate
- Future construction
- Proximity to schools, hospitals, employment, public transportation, shopping, freeways, airports, beaches, parks, stadiums, and cultural activities (museums, concerts, theaters, etc.)
Under the Fair Housing Laws it is unlawful for a real estate professional to engage in conduct that is discriminatory on the basis of race, religion, color, national origin, sex, handicap or familial status. Therefore, your Bear Agent cannot direct you to or away from any given neighborhood.
Choosing a home. . .
It’s time to pick out a few homes to view. Now you can refer back to your assessment of wants and needs and see which features are absolute requirements and which ones you’d like to have if possible. To narrow down your home search, have your realtor produce a computer printout of the homes for sale using the following criteria:
- Sales price
- Location (if you have specific areas in which you want to live)
- Number of bedrooms (if you have a minimum requirement)
- Other needs you have identified
Once you have gotten to this point, you are now ready to move forward and look at some homes to find the one that is right for you. The most important thing to remember at this point is to keep an open mind. Every agent has stories to tell about a couple that looked far and wide for their dream home and finally found it, but it was just the opposite of what they said they wanted in a home. This again goes back to clearly defining between wants and needs. This couple probably had a long list of things that they said they had to have in a home but eventually fell in love with a home that fulfilled all their needs and maybe one or two of their key wants.
Once you’ve found your dream home, don’t delay on the next step of the process – making the offer. At peak market times in the year, homes can be sold within hours of going on the market.