How to Find a Home to Buy
How to Find a Home to Buy

How to Know if You’re Ready to Buy a Home

Finding Homes for Sale

You’ve likely seen plenty of “For Sale” signs in front yards. But what’s the best way to locate available homes that match your goals and finances?

Searching online and exploring the neighborhood you want to live in can be a great start. Your real estate agent will also point out homes that match your goals and can help you keep an eye out for new homes on the market.

When browsing home listings, remember that you’re not just buying the building – you’re also buying a home that should match your lifestyle. Some aspects to keep in mind, aside from the house itself, include:

  • The neighborhood — If you’re looking for an area with lively nightlife, you might want to find a home closer to a downtown area. But if you’re hoping to get away from the city lights and sounds to a home with a nice yard and a bit more space, a suburb might be better for you.
  • The commute — If you’re switching locations in a significant way, consider how much time you’re comfortable spending on your commute to work.
  • The schools — If you have kids or think you might want kids someday, take some time to review the schools in the area. And even if you aren’t planning on having children, a good school district can add value to the home and make it easier to sell if you plan to move again.

How do I schedule a house viewing?

Once you find a house you’re interested in, your real estate agent can schedule a time for you to view the house, typically without the sellers or other potential buyers present. If you’re not working with an agent, you can contact the seller’s agent to schedule a viewing. Sellers may also host an open house as a chance for potential buyers to view the house.

Building a House vs. Buying a House

Depending on your budget and the houses on the market, you might want to explore the idea of building a new home instead of buying one. Both options come with their advantages, so the choice depends on what’s most important to you.

Advantages of Buying a HouseAdvantages of Building a House
It’s usually cheaper.You get to pick exactly what you’re looking for, though many builders have stock floorplans and options to help you narrow your choices.
It takes less time to buy an existing house than it does to build a new one, and unless major renovations are needed, you won’t have a construction timeline that could delay your move-in date.Everything will be brand-new, so you don’t have to worry about inheriting a previous homeowner’s problems.

What to Look for at the House Viewing

If you decide to make a firm offer, you could get a home inspector to complete a more thorough review of the home, but there are some potential red flags you can look for upfront yourself:

  • Plumbing and electrical issues — Check all the light switches and electrical outlets. Make sure the faucets and toilets don’t leak and look for evidence of water damage on the floors and ceilings.
  • Plumbing and electrical issues — Check all the light switches and electrical outlets. Make sure the faucets and toilets don’t leak and look for evidence of water damage on the floors and ceilings.
  • Radon, lead paint and carbon monoxide — Ask the seller if the house has been tested for any of these. If it hasn’t, you can have these tests done as part of the inspection.
  • Full or defective gutters — If the home’s gutters are full or not working properly, they may be allowing rainwater to pool near the foundation of the home. This can be an expensive problem to fix.
  • Tree location and quality — Try to assess the likelihood that a tree might fall on the house during a storm or strong winds.

The Do’s and Don’ts of Home Viewings:

Get the most out of your home viewing and catch possible red flags before you make an offer.

Mortgage Qualifier Calculator

The first steps in buying a house are ensuring you can afford to pay at least 5% of the purchase price of the home as a down payment and determining your budget. This calculator steps you through the process of finding out how much you can borrow. Fill in the entry fields and click on the payment schedule button to see a complete amortization schedule of your mortgage payments.

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