In a previous blog post, I covered checklists of things to do when you’re counting down to moving home. This time around, I’m going to cover the things you need to do if you’re earlier in the home-buying journey. If you’re thinking of moving home in 2017, here are some things you’ll want to start thinking about, and put into action.
Getting your finances in order
This is the big one. You should be checking your credit score and ensuring there are no errors that need to be rectified several months before you start your house hunt in earnest. Unsurprisingly, that’s the number one action item you’ll find on sites like CNN Money, along with setting a budget you can afford and talking to lenders to ensure that you can secure the mortgage you’re going to need.
Practice living with your planned payment
Whether you’re a first-time buyer or looking to move up the ladder a little, it’s a smart idea to actually try your planned monthly payment on for size. If you anticipate spending more on your mortgage, property taxes and home insurance than your current housing costs, whether owning or renting, this blogger smartly suggests seeing what that actually feels like before you take the plunge.
Write out your goals (and try to stick to them)
House hunting can be an an emotional roller coaster. Week after week, you find yourself picturing life in different homes. For couples, there’s the possibility of not seeing eye to eye on the potential of a particular residence. Or an enticing open house can leave you craving a kitchen that’s probably outside of your budget. For these and many other reasons, it’s best to set some ground rules before you start hunting in earnest. As this Vogue article suggests, having a list of must-haves in place can keep you from “a costly love affair with a flawed property”. Visiting a few open houses with nothing in mind other than identifying things you want to avoid is one way to start qualifying your likes and dislikes.
Read up on the whole process
If this is going to be your first owned home, a lot of steps in the process will be new to you. If you’re already a homeowner, chances are there are some steps in the process you’d happily forget as soon as you got the keys in your hands. Either way, take the time to familiarize yourself with the journey you’re going to be taking.
Start talking to a realtor
It costs nothing to start talking to a realtor, and there are many who would recommend starting that relationship prior to talking to lenders, particularly for first time buyers. A realtor can be a great help in defining your home-seeking goals, understanding your financial needs and planning for the hunt ahead. House hunting is an incredibly personal experience. Finding a realtor who is a good personality-fit for your journey is one big step towards finding your next home.
I’d encourage you to talk to friends who own homes in your desired location. Personal recommendations are a great way to make a good realtor match. With that said, you may have a very different househunting style to your friends, or simply not know someone who lives where you want to be looking. If you have questions about house hunting in Marin or Sonoma County, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’m always happy to have conversations with people who are thinking about a new home. Helping people think productively about the future is one of my favorite parts of the job.
Marin County Real Estate Agent
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services
Telephone: +1 415.606.1466
Fax: +1 415.479.5067
DRE #: 01914618