Five House Hunting TipsTopic: Home buying
There are several things you need before you move in into your new house. Sell your old house, for example, might be one of them. But, there is a bunch of others you may even not think of.
1. Think budget: There is a big difference between what you want to afford and what you can afford. This is a difference that needs to be distinguished before you even begin your housing search. Make a budget and figure out what you can pay on a monthly basis (don't forget to add in things like utilities and Home Owner Association fees). Knowing what you can afford helps assure your search won't be futile: you don't want to spend three weeks looking at houses that are well out of your budget.
2. Consider place: Obviously, this is something that needs to be decided before you even move: spontaneity and relocation don't exactly go hand in hand. But, knowing where you want to live isn't limited to a state or city. Research neighborhoods, communities, job opportunities, and school districts and find a few areas where you could see yourself and, more importantly, areas where you wouldn't ever want to live.
3. Know your wishes: You don't have to be a Barbie doll to have a dream house; we all have an ideal home. Unfortunately, not all of us have the financial means to make this ideal home a reality. Still, that doesn't mean the dream is over right away. Instead of giving up things you want, make a wish list. Perhaps you would love a sun room or have always wanted a big backyard. Maybe you have to have a finished basement or a Jacuzzi tub. Making a wish list, and specifically seeking them out, can help at least some of your wishes come true.
4. Know what to drop out: After you've made your wish list, a time will come when you must decide what you can do without. You may think that you absolutely have to have a gigantic master bedroom, but when that gigantic master bedroom comes with a ridiculously high price tag, you may find that a smaller bedroom will suffice. Still, there might be things you aren't willing to compromise on. If you've got five kids and must have a large backyard for their swing set, their trampoline, and their tetherball set, then don't be too quick to remove your desire. If something is that important, keep on looking for it.
5. Understand your rights: Unless you are a one man show - financing a move, and looking for a house entirely on your own - other people are going to be involved: realtors, loan officers, housing inspectors, professional movers. Whenever other parties are involved, there is always a chance you may be taken for more than you should. For this reason, before your housing search begins, know your rights. Know how to tell when a home loan interest rate is much too high, know what to expect from your realtor and know what to do when the moving fan with all of your most precious possessions takes a wrong turn and ends up in Alaska.
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