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Five Things to Do Before You Start Home Searching

The prospect of finding your dream home always brings about excitement, but the process of finding the property doesn’t come without its share of stress. With so much to consider; e.g. the neighborhood, school zones, price, age of construction and layout, it’s easy to get overwhelmed. Before you enter panic mode, follow these steps to ensure you’re prepared when you begin home searching.

Determine Your Must-Haves

Create a list of your non-negotiables. Need a big backyard for your pets? Is a three-car garage critical? Have you always wanted to live on the lake? Determining your must-haves in the beginning of the home-buying process will prevent you from wasting your time looking at homes that don’t check all of the boxes, or worse, ending up in a house that doesn’t meet your needs.

Prioritize Location

After you’ve developed your must-haves, make sure location is at the top of the list. With a good contractor, there’s a lot that you can change about a house. The location, however, is not one of those things. Your zip code will affect your commute, school zone, neighborhood, proximity to grocery stores and so much more. When scheduling showings, put an emphasis on location to avoid falling in love with a home that’s not in the right area.

Set a Budget

When determining how much you want to spend on your next home, start by considering how much you can afford to put towards your down payment. The general rule of thumb is to put down 20 percent of the total price of the home. Not only will this keep you from having to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI), it can also lower your interest rate. Next, examine your finances and decide how much you can afford to spend on your monthly mortgage and other home costs, including HOA fees, property taxes and homeowners insurance. While this exercise can be cumbersome, setting a budget in the beginning will keep you from feeling financially strained down the road.

Get Preapproved

After selecting a price range for your next home, visit a lender to get pre-approved for the number at the top of your budget. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you’ve offered more on a home than a bank will let you borrow. It’s both a waste of time for the seller and the buyer, and it may cause the seller to turn down other valid offers. Sellers often give preferential treatment to buyers who have already gone through the onus of getting pre-approved to purchase their home, so it may increase your chances of beating out competing offers.

Find a Great Realtor

To help guide you through the process of finding and purchasing your next home, picking the right real estate agent is crucial. From scheduling showings to walking you through closing, your agent will be with you every step of the way towards landing your dream home. With so many buyer’s agents available, it’s important to take the time to find the right realtor who will always have your best interest in mind. Get referrals from friends, read online reviews and schedule interviews before hiring an agent. If you’re interested in purchasing a home in East Tennessee, learn about Lakeside Real Estate Group’s team of reputable agents who have helped home buyers in the region for more than 25 years.

Whether you’re in the market for finding your next home or you’re considering a move down the road, Lakeside Real Estate Group offers unsurpassed real estate services to every home buyer. View our current listings or call 865-458-9600 to speak to an agent today!

Tagged With: , , | Posted: December 14, 2017