Buying a home is super exciting, but it can also be super overwhelming! There’s a lot to consider, after all, I mean we’re talking about a major investment. The more you know before diving into your home search, the more confident you’ll feel with your decisions — and that’s good since there will be a lot of them!
So, let’s get to it. Before you embark on your search, check out this step-by-step guide that will be sure to come in handy in helping you find the home of your dreams.
How to Search for a House to Buy: A Step-By-Step Guide
Step One: Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Visiting your lender and getting pre-approved helps in two ways: You learn what you can afford and also show sellers that you are a credible buyer, which will make your offer far more tempting.
Yes, it’s fun to dream, ride around, and look at houses, but the last thing you want to do is fall in love with a house that’s way more than what you can afford! Your pre-approval will help you set your budget and know what’s worth looking at as a reasonable option vs. veering too far from what’s realistically attainable. In other words, it’ll help you stay in your lane!
Step Two: Make a List of Must-Haves and Deal Breakers
Before you jump right into looking, it’s a good idea to know what it is you are looking for! Make a list of all the things you want in a home, then prioritize it by what you absolutely won’t compromise on (your deal-breakers or must-haves) and things you’d just really like (your nice-to-haves). Keep this list in mind when looking at homes, along with these house viewing pro tips:
- Take photos and notes to compare with your must-have list
- Bring a measuring tape to ensure your belongings will fit
- Don’t blow off issues or overestimate your DIY skills!
- Be sure to consider the surrounding area, schools, and your commute
Step Three: Narrow Down Your Location
Along with setting parameters for your budget, it’s important to do the same for your location. You don’t want to be driving around all willy-nilly. Determine the area you want to look in, and also how far beyond that area you’d be willing to venture if you can’t find what you want where you want it. This will help focus your search and save you time and energy.
Step Four: Go Ahead…Look Online
We’re not going to lie, the internet is full of helpful information and not a bad place to start a home search — the key word being “start”. You can find all sorts of listings on house hunting sites like Realtor.com and Zillow, but relying solely on online info is not recommended since a local real estate agent will know more about the market you’re in and the houses available there. Which leads us to our next step…
Step Five: Get Yourself a Real Estate Agent
Yes, you can try to schlepp through searching for a house to buy on your own, but why not take advantage of an expert who can make your life a whole lot easier? A real estate agent works as your advocate and has the expertise to not only know the market, houses available, and the going rates but also negotiate a great deal and help you navigate all the paperwork and processes. They’re basically house searching superheroes…and we just happen to know some good ones!
How to Search for a House to Buy in West Michigan
If you’re ready to buy in the Grand Haven/West Michigan lakeshore area, get in touch with the BlueWest team today. We’ll help make your home search a breeze and find the perfect home for you!