Home Buying Advice: Happy (House) Hunting
There’s nothing better than spending a lazy Saturday afternoon taking a ride through your desired neighborhoods and searching for the place you’ll be calling home. But let’s face it: who has lazy Saturdays anymore? Take advantage of other options for house hunting:
The power of the Web:
With just a few clicks, you can search through hundreds of listings in your area; take virtual tours and research neighborhoods, schools and taxes. Some popular websites to try are trulia.com, realtor.com, and zillow.com.
Define your search:
Make sure you decide beforehand what you want and need in your first home: One or two stories? How many bedrooms? Convenient commute to work? Knowing what you want before you start looking for your first home will make the search much easier for you and your realtor.
If you decide to use a realtor let them do the shopping for you and browse through only the homes they’ve selected. My realtor was fantastic – he knew my desired area very well and steered me away from certain neighborhoods and builders, and even showed me houses that I would never have considered, but were definitely options. His expertise literally opened doors for me. Be careful picking an agent though! Even though a lot of the time you can get your seller to pay for all of the cost of your agent, having a good/bad agent can make or break your home buying experience. My agent was amazing and I would recommend him to anyone, but my sister had a horrible agent with no negotiating skills at all and she lost her dream house because of it – if you are going to use a realtor, make sure you get a recommendation from someone who has used them before! There are so many great realtors out there that there shouldn’t be much excuse for hiring a bad one.
Buying a house can be the single largest investment people make in their lifetime. It is important and to your benefit to find the right house. Since buying a house is such a large investment and people will be spending such a large part of their life in their home, it is imperative to go through all of your options.
Written by: Ben Carroll, MBA, IT Administrator at Royal United Mortgage LLC