Our Real Estate Blog
Buying a new home can be an exciting but anxiety-inducing experience. With so many things to consider, it can be difficult to keep track of the things that matter most to you.
This process is complicated further when you discover a second or third home that you like as much as the first and you’re trying to decide which one to make an offer on.
In today’s post, we’re going to talk about how you can effectively compare houses to ensure that you’re making the most sensible, long-term decision for you and your family.
It’s all about the spreadsheet
Today, our method isn’t going to rely on any fancy new apps or paid tools. Everything you need to accomplish your spreadsheet is a tool like Google Sheets (it’s like a free version of Excel) or a simple pencil and notebook.
The columns of your spreadsheet will be made up of the factors that will influence your decision. This will include the obvious details like the cost and square footage of the home, but also finer details like its proximity to key places in your life.
The rows of your spreadsheet will be the properties you’re comparing. Now, it may be tempting to start listing every house on your radar in the columns of your spreadsheet. However, I think it’s more time-effective to only include the homes that you’re likely to make an offer on. This means doing some hard thinking and having a conversation with your family about your realistic goals for buying a home.
What is most important to you in a home and neighborhood?
Let’s turn our attention back to the top row of your spreadsheet. We want to fill that section with around 10 factors that are most important to you in a home and the location the home will be in.
In this section, you can include the estimated cost of the home and the estimated monthly expenses for owning that home (utilities, taxes, etc.).
Here’s the secret weapon of our spreadsheet, however. Rather than listing the actual cost of the home in this row, we’re going to give it a rank of 1 to 5. A score of 1 means the house is a lot more expensive than you want. A score of 5 means the house is the ideal cost. A 3 would be somewhere in the middle.
We’re going to use this 1 to 5 ranking system for all other factors on our spreadsheet as well.
Next to these costs, you’ll want to add other important factors to your home buying decision. Does it have the number of rooms you’re looking for? If a backyard is important to you, does it provide for that need?
In terms of upgrades, how much work will you have to do on the home to make it something you’re satisfied with? For DIY-minded people with time to spare, home improvement might be a welcome concept. For others, it simply would take too much time to accomplish everything you want. So, when you fill out the “Upgrades” column of your spreadsheet, make sure you determine a system for ranking the homes that suits your needs.
House location shouldn’t be overlooked
It’s a sad truth, but in today’s busy world, the average homeowner spends most of their time away from home, whether they’re at work, commuting, or bring their kids to and from after school activities.
You’ll want at least one column on your spreadsheet to be devoted to location. When ranking the location of a home, consider things like commuting time, distance to schools, hospitals, parks, and grocery stores. All of these things will have a larger impact on your day-to-day life than small details of the house itself.
Ranking the homes
Now that you have the first row and column of your spreadsheet built, it’s time to fill in the details and tally up the totals. These numbers will help inform your decision as to which house is really right for you.
After you submit an offer on a home and complete a property inspection, there may be only a short amount of time until you close.
Ultimately, it pays to prepare for closing day. If you start planning for your home closing today, you can identify and address any potential problems.
To better understand how to get ready for a home closing, let's take a look at three questions to consider before your closing.
1. What needs to get done before my closing date?
Your closing date may be a few weeks away, but time moves quickly, particularly for a homebuyer who wants to get into a new residence as quickly as possible. Fortunately, homebuyers who understand what needs to get done prior to a closing can plan accordingly.
Typically, a homebuyer will need to secure homeowners insurance and title insurance before closing on a house. Insurance companies are available to provide information about both types of insurance. If you reach out to these companies immediately, you can guarantee that your home and personal belongings will be covered against loss or damage.
You'll need to contact utilities providers as well. That way, you can ensure that your gas, electric and other utilities are good to go as soon as you close on your home.
2. How much are my monthly mortgage payments?
You know that you've been pre-approved for a mortgage. However, if you don't know how much that you'll be paying for your home each month, you'll certainly want to find out sooner rather than later.
Monthly mortgage payments can add up quickly, particularly for homebuyers who fail to budget properly. If you know exactly how much that you'll be paying each month for your home, you can effectively map out a budget.
3. What do I need to bring to my closing?
Homebuyers are required to bring a government-issued ID to a closing. In some instances, you may need to provide a certified or cashier's check to cover assorted closing costs as well.
If you are unsure about what to bring to a home closing, it often helps to consult with a real estate agent. In fact, this housing market professional can help you seamlessly navigate all stages of the homebuying cycle.
Prior to a home closing, a real estate agent is happy to respond to any concerns or questions that you may have. This housing market professional will explain how the home closing process works, how long the process generally takes to complete and, perhaps most important, when you'll receive the keys to your house.
A real estate agent also goes above and beyond the call of duty to provide assistance throughout the homebuying journey. He or she can help you compare and contrast a broad range of houses, submit a competitive offer on a home and ensure that you can discover your dream residence in no time at all.
Get ready for a home closing – consider the aforementioned questions, and you can prep for your closing date.
A home inspection is a valuable opportunity for a property buyer. If a homebuyer knows how to plan for an inspection, he or she should have no trouble getting the most out of this opportunity.
Now, let's take a look at three tips to help you get ready for a home inspection.
1. Hire an Expert Home Inspector
Not all home inspectors are created equal. And if you make a poor home inspector selection, you risk missing out on potential problems that may result in costly, time-intensive home repairs down the line.
When it comes to finding the right home inspector, it pays to be diligent. As such, it is crucial to allocate time and resources to conduct an extensive search for an expert house inspector. Because if you have a qualified home inspector at your side, you can get the support you need to perform an in-depth property evaluation.
Ask a home inspector for client referrals before you make your final decision. That way, you can find out what past clients have to say about a home inspector and determine if this professional is the right choice for you.
2. Attend Your Home Inspection
Although you are not required to attend your home inspection, it generally is a good idea to walk through a property with a professional inspector. By doing so, you may be able to gain insights that won't necessarily appear in your house inspection report.
You may want to take notes during your home inspection as well. If you remain diligent throughout your home inspection, you can understand a house's strengths and weaknesses. And as a result, you'll be better equipped than ever before to decide whether to move forward with a home purchase.
3. Ask Questions
There is no need to leave anything to chance, especially when you buy a house. Thus, if you have concerns or questions during a home inspection, address them immediately.
Remember, a home inspector is happy to respond to any of your property concerns or questions. He or she can provide honest, unbiased responses to your queries and help you make an informed decision about a house purchase.
As you prepare for a home inspection, you may want to consult with a real estate agent too. This housing market professional can offer recommendations and suggestions to help you get ready for a home inspection and put you in touch with the top home inspectors in your area. Plus, a real estate agent will help you review a house inspection report so you can determine whether to proceed with a home purchase.
For those who want to get the most out of a house inspection, you may want to prepare as much as possible. Thanks to the aforementioned tips, you can streamline the home inspection preparation process. Then, you can enter a home inspection with a plan in hand and use this evaluation to decide if a house will be able to serve you well both now and in the future.
If you plan to pursue your dream house, it generally helps to evaluate housing market data. In fact, there are many reasons why homebuyers should assess real estate market data, and these include:
1. You can learn about mortgage interest rates.
Mortgage interest rates rise and fall frequently. As a homebuyer, you'll want to do everything you can to identify the lowest-available mortgage interest rates. And if you study the housing market, you may be better equipped than ever before to do just that.
In addition, it often helps to meet with banks and credit unions. These financial institutions can help you track mortgage interest rates and provide you with mortgage insights that you may struggle to obtain elsewhere. Plus, banks and credit unions can help you get pre-approved for a mortgage and ensure that you have finances in hand when you pursue your dream residence.
2. You can reduce the risk of spending too much to acquire your ideal house.
Let's face it – you want to buy your dream house, but you don't want to break the bank to do so. Fortunately, if you understand housing market data, you may be able to avoid the temptation to overspend on a house.
Examine the prices of available houses and recently sold homes in areas where you want to live. By doing so, you can establish a price range for your dream residence and find out whether you're preparing to enter a buyer's or seller's market.
3. You can quickly and effortlessly navigate the homebuying journey.
The homebuying journey may prove to be long and complicated, especially for those who fail to prepare for it. Luckily, housing market data can give you a better idea about what to expect as soon as you kick off your search for your ideal house. Then, you can use this information to identify and address potential homebuying hurdles faster than ever before.
For those who are unsure about how to collect and analyze housing market data, there is no need to stress. If you collaborate with a real estate agent, you can get the help the you need to discover your dream house.
A real estate agent can provide you with the right housing market data, at the right time, every time. He or she also will allocate the necessary time and resources to explain the importance of assorted housing market data and paint a picture of the current state of the real estate sector. That way, you can take a data-driven approach to buying a house.
Perhaps best of all, a real estate agent is available to take the guesswork out of the homebuying journey. This housing market professional will keep you up to date about new houses as they become available and ensure that you can find a terrific house that matches your budget.
Ready to make your homeownership dream come true? Use real estate market data, and you can become an expert homebuyer in no time at all.
Before you even set out to buy a home, you may think that you need to look at a magic number of homes in order to find the house that’s right for you. There’s always a fear among buyers that they didn’t look at enough homes before settling on one. The number of homes that you look at is up to you. There is no magic number that will dictate finding the perfect home. The most important thing is to trust your own intuition. In A seller’s market, you also may not have much choice. When inventory is low, if you find a home you love, you’ll need to move to make an offer on it!
The Average Buyer
People looking at condos take between 1 and 3 months to find the property that’s right for them. Those looking for single family homes tend to take a bit longer- between 3 and 6 months to find a home. Buying a traditional house seems to spark more questions and more uncertainty, which leads buyers to take their time to find what they’re looking for.
Know Where You Want To Live
Before you start your home search, you should have a good idea of where you want to live. Have a list of cities, towns, and neighborhoods narrowed down to make your search a bit easier from the start. Take a ride around potential neighborhoods and get a feel for them. See the stores, restaurants, and nearby parks to really understand the area.
Match Your Lifestyles
Where you choose to live has a lot to do with your lifestyle. Think of the following:
- Where your friends live
- Where your family lives
- Where you work
- What you do for fun
Whatever you love and whatever you love to do should be a factor in your home search. If you love the beach, you don’t want to be a three hour drive away if you can help it. You also don’t want a 2-hour commute to work. Find the balance to make your life happier in the new space you choose.
Make A List
It sounds simple, but making a list of what you must have, what you’d like, and what would be a bonus can really help you in your home search. This holds true whether you look at 2 homes or 50 homes. The number of homes that you look at isn’t as important as your needs and wants. Buying a home is a huge investment and you need to be happy with your decision. While it’s not completely advisable to buy the first house that you see, if you have a good idea of what you want in a tough market, it’s best to put an offer in.