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House Hunting Tips

Owning a home is a dream shared by many Americans. As the housing market is rebounding, the desire to be a homeowner continues to increase. In fact, a strong case can be made that this is the perfect time to shop for a house. As a prospective homeowner, you have a lot to think about before you select a home to purchase. As you start looking for a home, consider the following helpful house hunting tips.

Top 12 House Hunting Tips

1. Plan For Your Future
This isn’t just a tip about the need to put together a solid budget. It’s about projecting how your life could change in the coming years. Hint: Kids! If you’re a married couple looking for a starter home then a modest two bedroom could be a perfect place to begin. However, if you are making plans for a family, you could find yourself outgrowing that “charming cottage for two” very quickly. You should also consider variables like the need for a home office or a finished basement. It is far better to have extra room and not need it then to need extra room and not have it.

2. Survey Your Location
As the old adage goes, the three most important things in real estate are: location, location and location. This is especially true when you are looking for a home to purchase. This is another instance when it’s a good idea to look at the big picture. What is happening beyond your block? Take the time tour through the neighborhood you are considering, and look at it from all sides. Where are the shops? The schools? The restaurants? Don’t forget to come back at night. You’d be amazed at the difference a neighborhood can have during different times of the day. Additionally, there’s no use buying a new home in a dead-end location. Try choosing a neighborhood that has yet to hit its peak—whether that means the job opportunities, the local scene, or the size of your home. If growth is important to you, factor this in before you buy.

3. Take Your Own Pictures
It’s hard to imagine that a home search won’t involve surfing the web. While real estate sites are a good source of information to help you build your “favorites” list, you should create your own image portfolio by snapping pictures on your cell phone or other camera when you see a home in person. This way you can have all your favorites together in one file for easy reference.

4. Don’t Fall In Love Too Fast
You might get lucky and find the perfect home on the very first try. But this is likely to not be the case. Even if you find what you consider to be your dream home, keep looking (at least for the rest of the day). The best decision you can make is one that is informed. This can only be accomplished when you consider all of the viable options in your price range.

5. Consider All the Costs
From the outside a home might look perfect. Inside there might be all the room you need. Sounds great, right? However, before you make an offer you need to consider all the costs. How much will it cost to heat that home? What about the landscaping? Are repairs to the roof, plumbing or electric systems required? All of these factors should enter into your equation. Looking for a new home can be exciting. The best approach to take is slow and steady. You’ll be making a potentially long-term commitment with this new house, so don’t rush your decision!

6. Accessibility
If you are searching for a home that is located in a fantastic neighborhood but is also a great place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city – without compromising on great job opportunities or cultural experiences, the accessibility of the neighborhood should be taken into consideration. You may be familiar with the frustrations of a long commute to work or other activities. When you are looking for a new place to settle, consider how much time you want to devote to your daily drive and how far you want to travel for groceries, the airport, or even your favorite outdoor park.

7. Green Space
What do you want to see from your living room window? If a view of open space is important to you and your family, it’s important to select a neighborhood that offers designated green space that has no chance of being converted into something else. When choosing a place to live, consider the local parks, the scenery, and the nature that surrounds it.

8. The Local Community
While living in a house that is both beautiful and functional is important, it’s the neighborhood that often makes or breaks a decision. Don’t just buy based on photos. Stroll through your potential neighborhood. Notice whether you feel comfortable and whether it offers the entertainment and leisure activities that you like – such as a local farmer’s market, independent coffee shops, or tantalizing restaurants. Research as much as you can about the local activities and amenities that will be available to you.

9. Family First
When you have a family, their concerns and needs are always one of your top priorities. When looking at any property, think about the school options in the area, the local crime rate, and the proximity of necessities such as grocery stores. Make sure to look at areas that have a highly rated and respected educational system with choices of public, private and charter schools available for your children.

10. Ship-Shape Home
If you’re planning on buying a home rather than building one, it’s vital that you carefully consider the condition of a house before signing a mortgage. Remember that the kitchen and bathrooms are the most expensive rooms to remodel, and that efficient heating and cooling systems are invaluable in most climates.

11. Get Expert Help and Advice
Use a local Realtor® who has lived in the area long enough to give you first-hand advice on the best schools and the best neighborhoods for your needs. How about a Realtor® who has a background as the CEO of numerous construction companies and can evaluate property conditions and estimate potential costs involved for repairs of every home you look at. Jim Garcia is all of the above and more. As a buyer in Colorado, you do not pay fees for a Realtor to represent you. Nor do you pay for any of the services involved in a real estate transaction. All these costs are paid by the seller! There is no reason not to have a 5-star Realtor on your side.

12. Start Looking Now
If you’re one of the lucky ones, you’ll find the home you’re looking for quickly. Most people will need to search longer to find that perfect fit. The sooner you hook up with an agent and start looking at homes, the more knowledge you’ll have of the local market and a better idea of how much ‘house’ your money can buy. When the right one comes along, you’ll be ready and armed with a first-rate negotiator at your side.

Let’s get started now.

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