Home Buyer’s Guide Part 5

Finding Your New Home

Driving around looking for “For Sale” signs isn’t a terribly efficient way to find your new home. But what is the best way to find homes that will meet your needs and fit your budget?

Finding Homes To Look At

Browsing real estate websites can be a good place to start. Your real estate agent should be keeping an eye on the market, letting you know about new listings as soon as they become available, and searching with your preferences and budget in mind.

As you look at listing, keep in mind that you aren’t simply buying the building, but buying a home that will need to suit your lifestyle. There are factors other than the house itself to consider, such as:

The neighborhood – Different home buyers have different desires in terms of neighborhood, so carefully think about what you’d like to have nearby. Do you want to be close to nightlife, arts, and culture? If so, you may want to look close to downtown areas in cities, or main street shopping districts in towns. If you’d rather a more quiet, laid back environment, then you’ll want to look in the suburbs.

The commute – If you are moving a significant distance, consider the impact it will have on your daily commute. A longer commute can really cut into your daily free time, make it harder to eat dinner with the family, and make you get up even earlier in the morning.

The schools – If you already have kids, or think you may in the near future, spend some time learning about the schools in the area. Even if you don’t plan to have children, good school districts generally add to home value, increasing resale price when you move again.

searching for homes on computer

How do I schedule viewing a home?

When you have found a home you are interested in, your real estate agent will contact the seller’s agent and schedule a time for you to see it. Usually you’ll have the place to yourself during this time, without the seller or other buyers around. If you aren’t working with an agent, you can contact the seller’s agent to set up a viewing yourself. Some sellers host open houses, but you won’t have the privacy of an individual viewing.

Building versus buying

In some cases, building a new home rather than buying can be a viable option. This all depends on your budget, and the availability of current homes. Both options have advantages, so you’ll need to decide what matters most to you.

Benefits of buying

  • Generally it’s less expensive.
  • It’s usually much quicker. Unless you buy a house that needs significant repairs or renovations, you won’t need to worry about a construction timeline potentially delaying your move in date.

Benefits of building

You can customize the home to be exactly what you want (within your budget of course). Many builders have a selection of stock floorplans and options that serve as a template, but allow a great deal of customization.– You won’t need to worry about inheriting problems from the previous owner, because everything will be brand new.

What to watch out for while viewing a house

Once you’ve made an offer on a house, you’ll hire a home inspector to conduct a thorough review of the home, but it’s always a good idea to look out for certain red flags during your viewing.

Electrical and plumbing – Check all faucets and toilets for leaks, and look closely for signs of water damage on floors and ceilings. Test all light switches and outlets.

Appliances, furnaces, and chimneys – If these are old, or haven’t had regular service, you will probably need to have them repaired, replaced, or cleaned when you buy the home. So factor this into your cost.

Lead paint, carbon monoxide, and radon – Find out if the seller has had the house tested for any of these. If not, these tests can be done as part of the inspection. Lead paint and radon remediation can be substantial costs.

Clogged or defective gutters – If the gutters are full, clogged, or not functioning properly, they can allow rainwater to accumulate near the home’s foundation. This can cause structural issues that are expensive to fix.

Tree quality and location – Trees close to the house, particularly those that are unhealthy, have a greater likelihood of falling on the house during a storm.

two people discussing finances
person signing a document

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Our personable and extremely knowledgeable loan officers will walk you through your first home buying experience so smoothly, your worries will be left behind.

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