How to Prepare for House Hunting
You would think that most people would be thrilled to go house hunting and find their dream home to buy. However, the opposite is usually true. Shopping for a home could, unfortunately, be a very stressful process.
What is house hunting?
House hunting is the process of searching for the home you want to buy, and in most cases, live in. Going after the American Dream of buying a home should be an exciting process. But then there’s all the loan paperwork, the time it takes to tour multiple homes, submitting offers that may or may not be accepted, and those things could put a damper on the house-hunting process.
If you are prepared, have patience and knowledge, and go into your house hunting with a positive attitude, this process could be more pleasant.
Why is house hunting so stressful?
House hunting is stressful because of the expectations, as well as the time and effort you have to dedicate to the process. It doesn´t end when you purchase the house, either. Because repairs and modifications are often required to bring the house up to your own style, standards, and needs.
From the beginning to the end, this is what the house hunting process usually entails:
1. Find a lender who approves you for a home loan, based on your situation. For example, that would be a bank or if you don’t qualify for a bank loan, BuyHouseEZ has a program that could be your best solution.
2. Provide your paperwork to your lender, who then issues a pre-approval letter which tells you much you can spend on a home.
3. Look for the perfect house within your homebuying budget and submit an offer to the seller.
4. Order a home inspection to make sure the house is in good condition, doesn’t have liens on it, or other legal issues tied to the property.
5. Close the deal and complete your home purchase.
6. Make any needed repairs, renovations, buy things that are missing, like new appliances, furniture, and more.
Take one step at a time, and don´t get anxious for the next one. First, start with your home loan. Don´t look at houses until you have your pre-approval letter, so you know what your loan amount will be and you’re not wasting time looking at houses that are over your budget.
Make your checklist when house hunting
Every step of the process comes with its own tasks. That´s why it helps to make a checklist related to all the tasks and things you must consider and keep in mind.
- In the first step of finding a lender, you’ll have to look for the right lender who can issue you the best loan, so:
· Do your research
· Apply with one or more lenders
· Know if you have been pre-qualified
· Choose the best lender and loan
· Start the loan process and deliver the required paperwork
Once you know how much can you spend on the house, you can start looking at homes.
· Look on real estate websites, like Zillow and Realtor.com
· See how much houses cost in the zone or neighborhood you want
· Find a good realtor who help you through the process
· Start touring houses within your budget
· Make an offer on the house you want
When it comes to inspections and paperwork, this checklist could change depending on your situation, your lender, the seller, and your own needs.
· Order an inspection to determine if there are any issues with its structure, pest infestation, and other potential issues
· Order a title search to confirm there are no legal problems attached to its ownership and/or current owner’s mortgage
· Initiate the paperwork to close on the sale
Keep your “must haves” in mind
Be aware that you will probably not get everything you desire in the house you´ll buy. So it’s best to be prepared with a list of things you “must-have,” the things that would be “nice to have,” and of course, what are the things that could be deal-breakers.
· First, start with the big ones, like how many bedrooms, bathrooms, and other spaces you need, including a backyard, laundry room, etc.
· Next, what zone do you want to buy in to be close to your job, your children’s school, etc.
· Then you can proceed with other things you would like but aren´t a priority, like having an updated kitchen, hardwood floors, storage space, a large basement, etc.
· The deal breakers are important too. For example, if you have a baby, maybe you don´t want a house with a second floor because of the stairs. If you found out from the inspection that the roof is damaged and needs to be replaced, you could negotiate with the seller to lower the price or look for a new house.
All of the above are just examples and your own list should be done according to your needs. Take the time to think it through.
How long does house hunting take?
This is a difficult question to answer because the time that it takes varies from one homebuyer to the next, and each step of the way, you might encounter issues that could delay the process.
It usually takes, on average, three to four months, but it could be longer or shorter, so don´t despair. Just be patient and you’ll eventually find the house that meets your needs.
Our team at BuyHouseEZ wishes you lots of luck on your home search, and if you are unable to get a conventional loan, don´t hesitate to contact us.