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Ultimate Guide to House Hunting
In recent years, the housing market has seen quite an impressive shift. The COVID-19 pandemic brought many changes with it, but it had a huge impact on the real estate industry. Many Americans moved to more rural areas – some to completely different states. As a result, we’ve seen a seller’s market over the last few years, and that doesn’t show signs of changing any time soon.
Whether you’re moving across the country or across town, these trends and shifts in the industry might not feel like they’re in your favor.
Simply put? It’s not easy to go home hunting right now, depending on where you live. Thankfully, not all hope is lost. No matter your budget or what you’re looking for in a home, there are a few things you can do to make the home hunting process easier and end up finding a place that fits both your needs and wants – now and in the future.
Decide the Type of Home You Want
Before you even start your hunting process, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of different types of properties. Maybe you’re ready to settle down in a long-term location and start a family. Maybe you just want a change of scenery and aren’t in a financial situation that will allow you to get a mortgage.
Choosing between a condo, townhouse, rental home, or buying your own home isn’t always an easy task. Breaking down some of the positives and negatives will make it easier to determine the right space for your needs. For example, some of the pros of condos include
- They’re often cheaper
- Maintenance is managed for you
- You’ll instantly be involved in a close-knit community
Some of the cons, on the other hand, include
- You’ll have to pay HOA fees
- It can be difficult to resell a condo, especially under certain market conditions
If you have several different property options in mind, consider making a pros and cons list for each of them and how they’ll fit your current and future needs. You might be surprised by how much easier it makes your final decision.
Think About the Future
Speaking of your future needs, it’s essential to keep them in mind when you’re home hunting. While purchasing a small home might seem perfect for your needs today, where do you see yourself in five years?
Do you want to grow your family? Could you switch careers? Do you get bored in one place easily?
By thinking about the future, you’ll have a better idea of which type of home is right for you. In some cases, you might find that it’s better to rent a property now so you’re not tied down to one place in the future.
However, if you know you want to stay in one place and start a family, consider investing in a larger home, even if you’re single or living with one other person. Now could be a perfect time to buy a “fixer-upper” and put a few years of work into it. You’ll save money on the purchase now, can work at your own pace, and eventually turn it into the home of your dreams. You might even be able to sell it years from now and enjoy a hefty profit.
Work With An Experienced Real Estate Agent
Whether it’s your first time home hunting or you’re just trying to get a handle on the market, it never hurts to work with a professional.
- They’re pricing experts
- They understand building and construction codes
- They can negotiate with the current homeowners without emotion
- They’ll make sure your closing goes smoothly
Even if you do with with a realtor, however, it’s still a good idea to educate yourself on the process as much as possible. Understanding legal and financial terms associated with buying and selling will make things much less confusing and will help to ensure you get a good deal, no matter the type of property you choose.
You should also take personal needs and considerations into account before you work with a professional. For example, if you have a criminal background, understanding how to navigate contracts is crucial – especially if you’re renting. Be upfront about your history, know the rules, and offer information like your credit history, rental references, and proof of income to ensure a prospective landlord that your background won’t negatively impact the process.
Whether you’re planning to buy or rent, navigating the housing market doesn’t have to be overwhelming. Use these tips as your guide to getting started. By doing your research, working with the right people, and having a strong understanding of what would best fit your needs, it will be easier to find a home in your ideal location that you can enjoy for years to come.