House Hunting Tips From A House Hunters Alum
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House Hunting Tips From A House Hunters Alum

House Hunting Tips

It’s been more than a year now since we moved into our cute little home. Home buying was such a fun, scary, exciting, and enlightening process. Both of us were first time home buyers trying to navigate it all. While you can watch some of that process on our HGTV House Hunters episode, I wanted to share some specific house hunting tips that I learned during the process:

Come up with a budget before you start looking.

Most of you probably already know you need to get approved for a loan, but the amount you’re approved for probably shouldn’t be your budget amount. That amount would likely leave you strapped for change at the end of every month, and no one needs that kind of stress.

To come up with a budget, I’d figure out what you’re comfortable paying each month for a mortgage, and then go from there. Think about all of your other expenses when coming up with your ideal mortgage amount. We planned to do a lot of travel this year, so we wanted to have a comfortably low mortgage. Once you have your ideal mortgage, there are a lot of online budget calculators to help you figure out how much you should be spending on your house. Your lender can probably help you out with that too.

Make a list of needs and wants.

Needs are things that you won’t budge on, like a specific number of bedrooms, a school district, or having a single level home. It may be a good idea to tell your realtor not to even bring you to homes that don’t have your needs.

Wants are things that you would prefer to have but are open to homes without it. These could be things like a nice patio or new appliances. You’d like them, but if the price is right, or you love other aspects of the house, you may still want to purchase it.

Having a clear list of wants and needs and communicating them with your realtor will make the process a lot smoother.

Don’t look at houses that are outside of your budget.

We made this mistake, and I would tell everyone to avoid it. We were excited about the affordable houses that we saw, and then after seeing one above our budget, the others seemed lame. We were committed to sticking to our budget and still found a home we liked, but I wish we wouldn’t have toured any that were too expensive.

Looking at homes that are over budget can also tempt you to spend more than you should, leading to a large mortgage that leaves you financially stressed.

Look online at homes.

This probably goes without saying as most of us head to the home finding websites early in the process, but I would encourage you to use the websites to weed out the houses that you don’t think would be a good fit, and then choose just a few to view. Touring homes can be exhausting and after you see several in a day, it can be hard to keep them all straight. That brings me to my next topic…

Take notes after viewing homes.

I would always scribble down a few notes about each home after we viewed it. I would write down what we liked about it or if it was a contender or not. It really helped when we would go back and discuss what we saw that day.

Follow your gut.

My last piece of advice is to follow your gut. If you walk into a home and you feel like it’s perfect and the price is right, talk to your realtor about making an offer. You don’t want someone else to swoop in and nab it.

I hope you found my tips helpful! I am by no means a home buying expert, but I just wanted to share a few things I learned for any other newbies out there. Best of luck with your house hunting!

Watch me talk about this topic on YouTube:

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