The housing market is picking up in 2021 after a slowdown last year. Suppose you’ve decided that this is the time to look at homes for sale, keep in mind that you might have more competition from other buyers.
This competitive housing market means it’s essential to boost your chances of success while house hunting. The following tips can help you find the right home to purchase this year.
Determine How Much House You Can Afford
The first step you should take is finding out how much you can reasonably afford to spend on a house. Determining this amount helps narrow down your options, which can make house hunting a bit less overwhelming. Knowing what you can afford also helps ensure that you don’t get in over your head financially when buying a home.
When you’re figuring out what you can afford, keep in mind that you’ll need to factor in homeowners insurance, property taxes, utilities, and other expenses.
You can quickly prequalify for a mortgage for free. Once prequalified, you will know how much you can afford. For a more accurate amount, make sure you get a preapproval letter from a lender.
Make a List of Must-Haves and Nice-to-Haves of Your Dream Home
Knowing what you’re looking for in your dream home can also help you focus on houses that fit your needs and wants. To get a better idea of this, make a list of must-have features for your new home.
These are features your home needs to have, such as a home office if you work from home, enough bedrooms for the whole family, or a playroom for your kids. You might also include amenities that your house must have close by, such as high-rated schools or easy access to major roads.
Nice-to-have features are ones that you don’t necessarily need in a dream house. For example, you might list a wood-burning fireplace or all new appliances as nice-to-have features.
Browse Available Homes for Sale
Your next step in house hunting is looking at homes for sale. You can browse through available houses online or use apps. When you explore the kinds of homes that are for sale, pay attention to the surrounding neighborhoods.
You can research these areas to determine where you would like to live based on nearby schools, crime rates, cost of living, and other factors.
Work with an Experienced Realtor or Real Estate Agent
When you’re ready to focus on finding a home to put a bid on, make sure you hire a real estate agent or realtor instead of tackling your home buying process.
Real estate agents and realtors know detailed information on the housing market, which can make it easier to find your dream home and get a good deal on it. Keep in mind that realtors are real estate agents who belong to the National Association of Realtors, which requires them to meet strict standards in the real estate industry.
Whether you work with a realtor or a real estate agent, these professionals can make the home buying process go smoothly.
See Homes Virtually if Possible
While seeing homes in person is ideal, the ongoing pandemic can make that a challenge. For safety purposes, visit homes virtually if possible. You can take virtual tours of homes on the market to see the homes’ interior and exterior.
You can get an idea of the home’s layout, space, and other factors. If you prefer going in person, make sure you visit homes with COVID-19 safety precautions in places, such as wearing a mask at all times and keeping enough space between you and other people, such as your real estate agent or realtor. These measures can help keep you safe while allowing you to tour an available home in person.
Ready To Begin Your House Hunt?
Finding a home can be an involved process. The recommended first step is to get a preapproval from your mortgage lender and get clarity on how much home you can afford. This way, you can start browsing listings and find the home that fits your needs.