How to Start Looking for a House
Take a look at the following list of key steps to take when house shopping:
Research Home Options
Start with some preliminary research to help you find out the types of homes that are available in the area you want to live in, common home features you like, as well as the average asking price in the market. Doing this will help you better understand your options during the home buying process.
Determine Wants and Needs for Your New Home
Another way to be most efficient, realistic and organized when looking for your new home is to make a list of needs and wants. Your needs list will include things your future home absolutely must have, while your wants list should include things that would be nice to have, but you can live without or add later on. This list will be informed by the initial research you did and will be incredibly helpful when working with a realtor.
Find a Realtor
Speaking of realtors, now is the time to find a realtor that you trust to walk you through the process of shopping for and purchasing a home. Your realtor will schedule home showings, draft up purchase documents and monitor new homes in the market. Handing over that wants and needs list will help your realtor understand your expectations versus what you can actually afford. With their help, you’ll be confident about which homes you want to make an offer on.
Visit Multiple Properties
Now that your realtor knows the type of home you’re looking for and your price point, they’ll find listings that you can visit. Your realtor will walk you through the home so you can tour the property and ask questions. Shopping for a home takes time and patience. You may fall in love with the first home you visit, but keep in mind other people are placing offers just like you. Take the time to visit a number of properties so you have options in case you don’t get the first home you want.
What to Look for When Buying a House
It’s understandable that you’ll be attracted to certain features more than others in a home, but there are key features you’ll want to pay attention to when touring a home:
Old or damaged roof
An old or damaged roof will need to be repaired or replaced, which isn’t usually a cheap upgrade. Keep this in mind when viewing homes and making your offer.
You want your new home to be comfortable, right? Temperature features can help with that. Make sure the furnace is in good shape and up to date, as well as any heating and cooling systems, since those can be expensive to repair. Investing in a well-insulated house can reduce heating and cooling costs, so make sure the home is properly insulated by checking areas like the attic and heating ducts.
Pipes and plumbing
Though you probably won’t be able to see the pipes and plumbing, it’s important that you have the pipes checked for leaks or damage. Here’s a closer look at how to check plumbing.
Large gaps, uneven floors, cracks above windows — all foundation issues that could be expensive to repair down the road. Pay close attention to the foundation as you tour each home.
Though a home inspector will be completing a professional, in-depth review of the home, paying attention yourself and recognizing damage in the home will be useful when choosing your initial bid amount and you’ll be more mindful of potential necessary repair costs that may arise.
Home Inspection Checklist
More Chapters in This Guide
Steps for First-Time Home Buyers
Not sure where to start when buying a home? Our first time home buyer guide explains what you need to know about buying your first home. Learn more today!Back to Beginning >
Saving for a Home
Saving money is one of the most important steps to buying a home. Learn how to save up for a down payment for a house with our first - time home buyer guideChapter 1 >
Understanding Loans and Mortgages
Buying a house but confused by financing? Learn about the different types of home loans and mortgages with our first-time home buyer guide.Chapter 2 >
Understanding Loans and Mortgages
Starting to shop for homes but don't know where to start? Learn about what to look for when buying a house so you can find the perfect home for your needs..Chapter 3 >
Putting an Offer on a House
Found the home of your dreams and want to place an offer? Read our tips for making an offer on a house and learn how much to offer to stay competitive in the marketChapter 4 >
The Home Inspection and Appraisal Process
What can you expect from the home appraisal and inspection process? Our homebuyer guide is here to help demystify home inspection and appraisals. Check it out today!Chapter 5 >
Understanding Homeowners Insurance
Choosing the right insurance policy for your new house is another important step in the home buying process. Learn about how homeowners insurance works and find the best coverage for your home today.Chapter 6 >
What to Expect on Closing Day
Closing on a house is an exciting yet hectic time, but don't worry. Our closing day checklist and tips can help you succeed. Learn more from American Family.Chapter 7 >
What to Do After Closing on a House
Congratulations! You've closed on your home and can start making it your own. But there are a few final steps you'll need to take. Use the following resources to make your transition into your new home as smooth as possible.Chapter 8 >