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Everything you need to do before you start house hunting

If you’re looking to buy a home in the near future, you already know it’s quite a process to embark on. As exciting as it can be to buy a new home, this feeling can be overridden by the stress of getting everything organized, and finding a home that checks all the boxes. One of the best things you can do to help is make a list of what you need to accomplish before you hit the market. There’s a lot to be done before you start house hunting, even though that’s the part you’re probably most excited about. Here are some tasks you need to check off before you start house hunting to make your experience as smooth as possible!

Get pre-approved

A pre-approval gives you a step in the right direction when you start house hunting. Remember, a pre-approval is an estimate from a lender for the mortgage amount you could qualify for based on your current situation. It isn’t set in stone, so in order for your pre-approval to remain the same, your financial situation must remain the same for the 120 day period most pre-approvals are valid for. However, a pre-approval gives you a good picture of what you can afford. It also speeds up the process when you submit an offer on a house and need your mortgage financing approved, since the lender has already verified much of your information. Buyers with pre-approvals are usually more trusted, because it shows they have already met with a professional and are serious about buying. 

Have a budget in place

One of the most important parts of buying a home is deciding on your budget. Of course, the first thing we think of in terms of a budget is the actual price of the home. You need to know how much you can afford, so you don’t waste time looking at homes beyond your price range. A broker or real estate agent can help you decide on your budget based on things like your credit score, current savings, and income. Your budget will also be influenced by your down payment, and whether your down payment will require the purchase of mortgage insurance. Finally, you need to remember to work closing costs, moving costs, and property taxes into your budget. As a point of reference, as of August 2021, the average housing price in Halifax was $442,284. 

Make a list

What are your wants and needs for your home? It’s important you know in advance what your home must have, in comparison to what you’d like your home to have. This will help you with your selection when you get to the stage of viewing homes. For example, you might have needs in regards to property size, number of bedrooms, and residential surroundings. Your wants might focus more on proximity to amenities, renovation status, whether the home has a pool, and so on. You don’t want to be too vague or too narrow during your search. Don’t waste time on homes that don’t meet your needs, but it’s still worth considering homes that might not meet all your wants. Plus, you can always do renovations down the road to check a few of those “wants” off your list!

Find a real estate agent

It’s generally not a good idea to start house hunting without a real estate agent. While you might think it will save you money, it won’t be worth the hassle. Many sellers won’t consider buyers without agents because they don’t have the professional knowledge, and they appear far less serious than buyers who have enlisted an agent. Sellers want to avoid running into potential issues at all costs. For you, an agent is a huge help because they find listings, organize viewings, help you navigate offers, negotiate with sellers’ agents, and review paperwork. It’s a big weight lifted off your shoulders to have an agent on your side. 

Decide on a timeline

How soon are you hoping to move into your new home? The order you act on the items on this list will depend on how quickly you want to make this transition. If you are looking to move by the end of the year, you should have your pre-approval and agent in place. You should also ideally be thinking about property types, which will become more clear after you make a list of your wants and needs. Plus, remember that even as demand cools down a bit, housing prices are continuing to rise. The sooner you’re prepared to enter this market, the better it might be for you as a buyer.

Use a broker!

Of course, no real estate experience is complete without a mortgage broker. Brokers can offer you so much as a buyer. They help you find the right lender and product for your needs, and they can help you find the best rate as well. They can assist with your budget, recommend real estate agents, and help you with offers and paperwork. Brokers take so much stress away in the home buying process, and they always make sure you find the best product for your needs. 

Make your home buying journey as easy as possible by following these steps before you start house hunting. The more organized you are ahead of time, the better your experience will be. This is a lot to consider, but it will help keep you organized and stress-free while you navigate this chapter of your life. 

If you have any questions about buying a home or securing a mortgage, get in touch with us at Clinton Wilkins Mortgage Team! You can call us at (902) 482-2770 or contact us here.