Happy 2019! In December of last year, the boyfriend and I embarked on the beginning of a journey of buying a house. We are both serial renters 12+ years each. As you get older, the concept of just throwing money away starts to make your eye twitch so it was probably time to step up the adulting. As a disclaimer, we are still in the process but I have learned there is a total art to real estate. Here’s what I’ve learned so far and what I appreciate about people who do this all the time.
First of all, if you are going to start the house buying process you are going to buy a house. We went into it with more of a “we will just look and browse at an open house.” 3 weeks later we were knee deep in offers and inspections. You have been warned.
Ok! Back to house hunting! We started where most people do. Zillow. They have a pretty cool app, too. If you randomly start hunting around where you live right now you’ll get an idea of just the general look of houses. You’ll also get an idea of some of the things you might be looking for. You can also use HomeSnap, too!
When you are looking for areas to move to, consider smaller towns and areas around the main city you might be looking at. The biggest factor which determined where we looked was taxes. So although most people are distracted by the big number, make sure to look at the taxes (scroll down past the details and look for the “Tax History” section in Zillow). A big tax number will actually increase your mortgage payment by a lot!
So, once you have an idea of what kind of house you want (must haves/could live withouts) and some areas where you want to start, you need to decide if you want a Realtor. I’ve you’ve never bought a house before I am going to say a Realtor is super helpful, however it will likely accelerate this process because you can narrow in on what’s possible really quickly.
1.) List of Wants – Check
2.) List of Locations – Check
3.) Relator – Check
You’ll have an idea of what you want/can spend. Before going to town looking at houses, it is a great idea to go ahead and get a pre-approval from a mortgage lender. That way if you find the house of your dreams you can make an offer really quickly.
Now, browse… browse.. browse.. browse.. Your realtor will send you weekly emails, Zillow will hit you up every two seconds and some how.. all of a sudden you will notice every for sale sign everywhere you drive. Houses move fairly quickly, your “I Love” list on Zillow will have constant updates about offers and deposits. Don’t be discouraged — you’ll likely find a few houses you love and it might be at the most random time. Like.. for example… in the bathtub.. don’t judge. However, if you love it, you probably aren’t alone so make sure if there is a house that fills in all of your wants from #1 that you go see it asap!
While you are looking at houses, make sure to peek in every door and look under everything you can find. Unfortunately, you will never remember everything from every house but as soon as you leave the house don’t forget to make notes on how the house made you feel. Better yet, email your realtor with your thoughts after seeing the houses. This way, they can help you when they are looking at additional houses in the future.
Next blogs on the docket — the offer and the inspection!
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