Many seasoned home buyers have been through the process and already know what they want and need. But if this is your first rodeo, you may not know what to look for when buying a home or where to even start. The home buying process can be emotionally charged at the best of times, so to help you stay on track and find exactly what you're looking for, here are a few things to think about before you start shopping.
Find Out How Much You Can Afford
Before you start perusing the listings and falling in love with house after house, it's time for a reality check. It's better to find out what you can really afford before you get your heart set on a particular home. This is one of the most common mistakes of first-time buyers and it's heartbreaking to watch someone find out their dream home is not within their means.
Check your credit at home before walking into a bank or broker's office to find out where you stand, credit-wise. Then, shop around for a mortgage. In most cases, a mortgage broker is more flexible and can help you find a better rate than you would at a bank, but it's still worthwhile to shop around.
Research, research, research. Find out everything there is to know about an area before you move there. Colorado Springs has a wealth of lifestyle and local interest bloggers that are easily discovered after a quick search on Google and Twitter.
When thinking about moving somewhere, think about what your life could look like three to five years down the road. Not only will this help you decide what property type and neighborhood is best for you, but also what kind of mortgage you should consider, too!
Create a "Wants" and "Needs" List to Keep Your Home Search Focused
As the old adage goes, what you want and what you need are often very different, and nothing could be quite so true when it comes to buying a home. Real estate professionals recommend creating a list defining these two, which will ease the home shopping process.
Needs will be what you simply cannot compromise on. For example, buyers who want a home shouldn't be willing to settle for a condo. Buyers who need a certain amount of bedrooms will find a smaller home to be a deal breaker. Define what you MUST have, and then move onto what you want.
Wants are optional features to some extent. Create a "major want" and "minor want" column on this checklist. These types of wants might include a hot tub, upgraded kitchens, etc. However, keep in mind that the home can be upgraded to include both major and minor wants.
Think About The Future
Take a few moments to really think about what's important to you. Do you long for the tranquil views found in the countryside, or prefer to be more in the thick of things downtown? Are you hoping to grow your family in the next few years, or focus on your career instead? Do you love the idea of being just a short walk from the grocery store, or are you generally pretty good about getting everything in one trip? Questions like these matter because you don't want to settle in a new home, only to realize it looks pretty and fits your budget, but it doesn't really suit your lifestyle.
Pay attention to your daily habits over the span of a week and write down what's important to you so that when you hire a Realtor, you can give them a pretty good snapshot of your everyday life.
Partner up With a Rockstar Realtor
As a buyer, it's 100 percent in your best interest to work with an experienced Colorado Springs real estate agent. They're services don't come at a cost to you, and they'll help keep you focused on your wants and needs – even when your heart says otherwise. Since they're the local experts, they can help you find that perfect needle in the real estate market haystack.
Feel like you've covered all the bases? Get in touch with the MilitaryHomeSearch.com team now to kickstart your home search. Learn more about the home buying process, budget for your BAH, and find out when listings that match your search criteria hit the market! Register for an account now, or contact the Colorado Springs relocations experts at MilitaryHomeSearch.com online or by phone at 719.338.7294 today!
Lauren Schneider, Real Estate Agent and Military Relocation Professional (MRP)
Lauren Schneider has lived in Colorado Springs for nearly 20 years and knows that the military is what keeps this town ticking, which is one of the reasons she's chosen to pursue her dream of helping military families with all of their homebuying needs. Learn more about Lauren or start your home search now.