3 Things to do Before Looking at Real Estate Listings

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So, you’ve decided to join the ranks of proud homeowners everywhere and buy a home of your own? Shopping for a home can be an exhilarating experience that is full of ups and downs. For one reason or another, there will always be the “one that got away” or the one that was just out of your price range. Before you embark on your quest to find your “home, sweet home”, there are a few things to consider that will save you time and energy in the long run.

Decide what you can afford

Before you begin the house hunting process you’ll need to take a long hard look at your financial situation. To effectively understand what you can afford, take into account all of your expenses now and consider extra expenses that a home purchase could entail. If you are in an apartment, condo, or smaller home, you’ll want to include a long list of things that will be essential when you become a homeowner. For example: appliances, more furniture, lawn and garden tools, and services that you may not currently pay for, such as trash and yard debris pickup or HOA fees.

Next, consider your employment situation and savings account. Would you have the funds available to handle emergencies such as damage from natural disasters, illness, or unemployment? These factors should come into play when you establish a budget for a home purchase, because signing up for a mortgage program is a long-term commitment.

Consider your list of must-haves

Before you sit down with your laptop or glossy real estate listing booklet, create your own personal checklist of features want in a home. If you don’t establish this, you’ll waste a lot of time looking at property that simply does not hit the mark. Of course you should involve your spouse and other family members because they may have expectations that you were not aware of. For example, perhaps your spouse is after a home with a low maintenance yard and large garage, your kids are dreaming about a swimming pool, and your number one wish is for an open floor plan and gourmet kitchen. In creating the list of “must-haves” it will be necessary to prioritize and decide what you are willing to live without.

Location

View of Brooklyn

Although a longstanding cliche, location is an extremely important consideration when shopping for a home. Of course as with everything, each individual will have his or her own interpretation as to what is ideal when it comes to a home’s location.

Another checklist is an excellent tool for tallying up the pros and cons of a potential property’s location. Prioritizing what is more important in terms of a home’s geographical coordinates is something that only you can decide. For instance, some do not mind a long commute to work or school if their home is close to parks, trails, shops, and restaurants. However, others may prefer the opposite arrangement. Neighborhoods themselves may also cater to certain age groups or interests. Do your homework to find out which areas reflect your community expectations.

Anna Platz is an Editor at ForTheBestRate.com, a leading mortgage rate research website, as well as the Lead Contributor to GoodCentsSavings.com, a blog about budgeting and personal finance. Anna is immersed in the world of real estate, mortgage, and home financing and is here to provide valuable resources for homeowners and soon-to-be-homeowners on buying and selling real estate, researching a mortgage broker or lender, and securing a home loan. Check back often for news, updates, and remember that you can find today's current mortgage rates at ForTheBestRate.com. My Google Profile+

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