Do’s and Don’ts of House Hunting

Is house hunting stressing you out too?

To say we have been looking for a home for a long time would be an understatement. Along the way we have made some mistakes. Recently we have made some progress in the right direction. Buying a home is for most people the largest purchase they have ever made in their life. Therefore, the steps you take to complete this purchase are more important then ever. House hunting comes with a lot of to do lists and a lot of don’t lists. The reality is how do you know what works for you? It’s simple… through trial and error, you must decide that on your own.

In our marriage I am lucky that my husband leaves most of the big decisions for me to make. I present ideas to him and he either votes for them or against them. However, because of that I am always second guessing my decisions. Below is a short list of some things I did that really helped me along the way.

  1. Secure a Pre-Approval: To start looking without knowing what you can afford is kind of a waste of time. Visit your bank or find a mortgage representative you trust and have a financing conversation before you start looking at all the pretty house pictures.
  2. Non-Negotiables: Create a list of your must haves. For instance, I must have an indoor laundry room! Our rental has the washer and dryer in a shed. One too many instances with furry creatures at night and that one made the list. Also include simple things like at least three bedrooms and two baths.
  3. Location: Decide the location before you head out and about. Drive around in the area you are interested in. Visit at different times of the day to determine traffic patterns, restaurants you like and local grocery stores. We had too broad of an area when we started, and it felt like we were driving around aimlessly.

After creating a couple lists and short-term goals as far as price, down payment, location and time frame it’s time so start house hunting! BUT WAIT! What about the Don’ts??? Well here are a few mistakes we made along the way to watch out for.

  1. Friends and Family: I know it’s tempting to use friends or family as realtors or mortgage lenders but it’s best to look outside of your immediate circle. This is a very stressful time and you don’t want to add stress to a friendship or relationship with a family member. This is a tough one, but I promise you are better off telling them your reasons why you’re not using them rather than trying to fight your way through it and still come out friends on the other side.
  2. Sacrifices: As important as it is to make a list of non-negotiables, it’s equally important to make a list of what your willing to sacrifice. Things like a perfect kitchen may be on the non-negotiable list but you may need to give up the perfect master bath. Making no sacrifices at all will have you house hunting for the rest of your life.
  3. Other’s Opinions: House hunting is an exciting time, however everyone opinions could just confuse things. It’s fun to share experiences but we have learned everyone has their own perfect home and our ideas and theirs may not be the same. It’s perfectly okay if your mom’s opinion is voiced, just try not to take it to heart every time!

So, there you have it, something that worked for us may or may not work for you. The best part about all of this is each journey to a new home is different then the last! Try your best to enjoy it and do what you can to keep the stress at a minimum.

Remember you are not in this alone! There are plenty of people to help and many who have been in the same situation before. Guess what??? It will all be worth it when you finally have that first night in your new home… well maybe the second night… you know once the internet is hooked up!

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