DCU Realty's Home Buying Guide
Why are you are looking for a new home? For example, are you currently renting and would like to have a home where you can begin building equity? Maybe you recently married and have outgrown your current residence. Or, maybe you have just gotten a promotion, which requires you to move to a new city. These factors will all have a bearing on how you approach your home property search.
WHAT IS YOUR TIME FRAME?
What is your time frame that you would like to stay within for buying your home? Depending on your reasons for wanting a new home and the current state of the market in the area you are looking to buy, you should be able to come up with a rough guideline, which you can finalize at a later time.
WANTS VERSUS NEEDS LIST
You should make at least two lists: one should be a list describing your dream home and the other should list the features of the home that are an ABSOLUTE MUST HAVE in order to buy it. In a perfect world, your new home would fulfill both lists 100 percent. It is more likely that you will end up blending the two lists into a schedule of prioritized items as you progress through the buying process. This is a natural process as you get clearer about what you want and what is available.
Now that you and your agent have developed a plan and timeline to find the home of your dreams, the fun part begins. It's time to look at homes. Your agent will have set you up with a daily email notification of all new homes that meet your criteria. This piece of technology has really enabled buyers to save themselves tons of time, energy and stress of not looking at homes that don't meet their needs. MLS is set up to identify homes in a specific part of Massachusetts or New Hampshire to allow you to not only get the details of the potential homes, but to also allow you to look at multiple photos of the interior, exterior and yard.
In addition, you can check the address on Google Maps to see where in town the home is located and often check the property on Google Earth and see photos of the street and neighborhood. Often buyers will eliminate many homes right off the bat based on photos and location and then choose to drive by a few more if they are uncertain of the area, to check out the neighborhood or see how long the commute would be.
You and your agent will come up with a list of 3-5 homes to check out in each appointment (more than 5 is often too many and buyers tend to start confusing them with each other.) Be open to suggestions from your agent. Although you may think that you don't like a particular style of home, it's worth taking a peek if your agent thinks it might work for you. Often buyers are pleasantly surprised by something that they were sure they would hate.
Bring everyone who will be part of the final decision making process. Don't just bring back mom and dad to the second showing. It's important that they know what else is available in the specific price point so that they know you are making a great decision when you find the right one.
Finally, don't be afraid if you find the right home quickly. Remember that, if you have done your homework, you have developed a realistic plan at your buyers' consultation to narrow down your search appropriately, you have looked at interiors, exteriors and neighborhoods on-line and ruled out most and your list of homes to actually visit is only the best of the best. Even though you have only looked at homes one or two times, you have in actuality seen hundreds of homes that don't work for you. It's pretty common to find your home after only physically visiting a few.