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Your Home Search – How to Prepare to Buy a House

The journey of home buying can sometimes feel like a never-ending story. With low mortgage rates -- plus so many homes for sale – inspiring more buyers than ever before, the real estate market can feel like quite an unmanageable jungle. But before you psych yourself out of the process of home buying and stop your home search before you start, let us help you prepare for one of the most important purchases of your adult life. It’s not impossible, but it does help to know some tips and tricks going in to help you feel more grounded as you start to buy a home.

Of course, having an excellent real estate agent is key. They can help you on your home search and assist you in making the best buying decisions based on your financial capabilities and home wish list. But even better, they can also assist when the home buying process is getting you down. Remember, these are professionals who have been through the home search and home buying process numerous times, and know the ins, outs, ups and downs of every real estate journey. They can help you determine what’s working, what’s not, and how you can make adjustments to course correct.

And while it’s important to have expectations of your home search, it’s also important to be flexible and know when to adjust them. Sure, it’d be nice to find the perfect home right out of the gate – and yes, sometimes that does happen. But it’s more likely that you’ll be rolling up your sleeves and digging around for a while before you find that gem that’s been hiding and waiting for you to find it. Again, this is an opportunity for you to work closely with your real estate agent to learn how to navigate this part of your home search.

It’s also important to set and understand your own boundaries – and know when not to cross them. A perfect example? Say you’ve set a budget – based on your pre-approval letter – that is smart and comfortable and well within your means… but then you stumble across a home that makes your heart explode with glee. Just one issue: it’s over your budget. And it has multiple offers. And it’s entering into a bidding war.

Don’t get caught up in the excitement of home buying, and make sure you stick to the goals you set at the beginning of your home search – you don’t want to wind up with buyer’s remorse! And if the whole thing gets a little too stressful for you, don’t be afraid to have a time out so you can regroup. Remember, this is your journey to home ownership. You’re in charge, and you’re perfectly well within your means to take breaks.

One thing you can do to lessen the stress of house hunting is make sure you’re not piling too much on yourself as you’re searching for your dream home. It takes a lot of time and energy to look for a new home – and when you add that on top of your work life and personal pursuits, it can be a lot. So it’s not wise to add more to the list. So say, for example, starting a new job, a new hobby, adding to your family, or even buying a car or furniture. Wait until after you’ve gotten your new home. Do one big, life-changing thing at a time and you’ll enjoy the experience that much more.

Undoubtedly, you’ll experience some ups and downs while on the search for your new home – but don’t let that discourage you. It can be hard to find a place you think of as perfect, only to lose it to another bidder or find it out of your price range. Don’t let it stop you, though – it just means you’re getting one step closer to your yes. You might have to submit numerous offers over the course of your search before you lock down the house that’s for you. Just keep moving forward, and know that the perfect house is out there waiting for you.

And if you’ve been having too much difficulty finding the right house? It might be time to change your priority list. Going into your home search, it’s wise to have a list of must haves and nice to haves… but if those lists are keeping you from finding a space, it might be time to reconsider them and figure out new lists based on your budget, the market, and what your real estate agent sees as being realistic based on your search criteria. It doesn’t mean you can’t still find something great – you can, it just might mean you’ll have to forego the view in exchange for a pool, or that walk-in closet for that incredible bathroom. Trade-offs aren’t a bad thing – and in fact, they could lead you somewhere better than you ever thought you’d be.

But above all else, know that patience is key. Remember, this is a journey – and one that will have highs and lows, ups and downs, and sometimes make you feel like you’re turning inside out! But if you stick with it, you’ll come out the other side with a home that was meant just for you. It’s going to happen for you, even if it doesn’t happen as quickly as you want it to. Before you know it, you’ll be signing your closing documents and taking the keys to your new home. Good luck!

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