House hunting can be a very exciting process filled with fun expectations and visions of the future. But it can also be completely overwhelming and almost frightening if you don’t know what you are looking for or where to start looking!
In order to make sure that you are getting the most out of your house hunting experience, it is important to start narrowing down the field right from day one. Actively limiting the available possibilities will help you to focus on what you like and don’t like about each potential option and form a clear vision of the dream house you are searching for.
With that in mind, here are some simple practices for narrowing your options and focusing your search:
Understand Your Budget
No matter what type of budget you are working with, there will always be much nicer houses available for 50% more than you can afford. Don’t tease yourself by looking at houses out of your price range!
After walking through a $375,000 house, just about everything about a $250,000 house is going to look inferior. So once you decide on a budget that you can afford, don’t distract yourself by looking at houses that you can’t afford.
Specify the Details
Once you establish your budget, the next step is to specify exactly how many bedrooms and bathrooms you are going to need. You don’t necessarily have to set maximum numbers, but establishing that you need at least a certain number of bedrooms and bathrooms will allow you to exclude all properties that don’t meet those minimums.
You should also consider what type of house you are looking for. Decide whether you are looking for a single-family home, a townhouse, or a condo and exclude all of the alternatives.
Identify Your Target Neighborhoods
Once you start limiting your searches by budget and specific details, you will probably start seeing that certain neighborhoods are going to be the most likely places for you to find a home. Out of these possible options, start thinking about which ones are most appealing to you and why.
Look at Lots of Pictures
Out of the houses that meet your qualifications, start looking at as many pictures as you possibly can. Take careful notes of what features you really like and which ones aren’t as important to you. This will help you further refine your searching.
Search Recent Sales
It is important to remember that the collection of homes listed for sale today is not always a full representation of the homes that will be available in the coming months. Look through homes that have sold recently in your target neighborhoods to find more evidence of what might be possible.
Keep an Open Mind
Using all of these search criteria to narrow down the field is very helpful when you are just starting your search, but don’t be surprised if something that is completely different catches your eye. Sometimes, the ultimate dream house is just outside the budget, doesn’t have enough bedrooms, and is located in the wrong neighborhood…but you love it anyways.
The best way to be smart about searching for your dream home is to start by narrowing down the field based on what you think you want. But as your search goes on, feel free to adjust those parameters based on what you are finding.
Take your time, enjoy the process, and make sure you don’t settle on a house you don’t love just to get it over with! If you need any help with your search process feel free to contact your local Carrington Real Estate Agent!