Top 5 Things you should do before you buy

Write a “Wish List” and a “Needs List”

Make a list of the top 5 features you need to have for the new property and the top 5 features you want. An example of your “Needs” list could be: Maplebrook School, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths, attached garage, and close to work. The list would include things you don’t want to compromise on. The “Wants” list should include items that are nice to have but that you don’t necessarily need. For example: 4 bedrooms, basement, updated kitchen, large yard, and close to shopping. So, it would be nice to have 4 bedrooms, but 3 bedrooms would work. When you feel like you’re “stuck” or having trouble deciding, refer to your list and it will help you stay focused.

Get Pre-Approved

You will want to get pre-approved so you know what price range to look in before you go see any properties. There is nothing worse than falling in love with a house and later finding out you can’t get financing. If you find a home you want to put an offer on, you’ll need your pre-approval letter to submit with your offer. It makes for a strong offer and if you get in a multiple offer situation, you are not waiting for the lender to get you a pre-approval letter.

Drive By the Properties Before You See Them

This will save you time. Often buyers find properties they love online only to find out they are located next to a sewage plant, far walking distance to school, undesirable neighborhood, or they don’t look like the pictures.

Don’t See Too Many Properties In One Day

Generally, viewing 5 homes or less at one time is a manageable number for most buyers. Any more than 5 and they tend to get confused on which property is which, which ones they like most, and the reasons why. When house hunting, start with your top 5. If you don’t find any you like that day, you can drop down to your next 5, expand your geographic parameters, adjust your price range, or revisit your needs and wish lists.

Stay Positive and Be Patient

The buying process can be stressful or frustrating at times. A typical buyer looks at an average of 10 homes before they make a decision. Some get lucky and find the perfect one right away; for others it may take more time. If you find yourself frustrated, you may need to adjust your expectations. Also, if you are financing your new home, from the time you have a contract (all parties have agreed to the terms and signed) to closing, is an average of 45 days, so plan accordingly.