Whew! Now that your home is ready for sale, you can transition into preparing to buy a home. Whether it’s been a few months or a few years since you last purchased a home, we can all use a few reminders on how to prepare.
Figuring out your family’s wants and needs is important, but what’s more important is figuring out the difference between your wants and needs. Make a list of everything you are looking for in your dream home and then sit down and discuss the importance of each item. Categorize your list into two sections: deal-breakers and preferred items. Be sure to analyze each element and be honest about true deal-breakers. Some examples of deal-breakers include price, location, distance to work/school, number of bedrooms or square footage. If any home includes one or more of your deal-breakers, it should immediately be removed from your list. Preferred items are special elements or amenities that you want to have, but can compromise on if no deal-breakers are present. Preferred items can be things like granite countertops, a jacuzzi tub or hardwood flooring.
Moving can be hard, especially on kids, so make your new home search a family ordeal to help get them excited about their new home. Ask them what they would like in a new home and, if the requests are reasonable, make them a priority. Let them know that moving is going to benefit everyone in the family for different reasons. Connect some aspect of the move, like the possibility of a bigger bedroom, to their life so they have something to look forward to.
Scout different locations based on your preferred proximity to schools or work. You should have an idea of where you want to look so that your agent can accurately obtain information on the pricing of nearby homes. You don’t want to waste your time in an area that is over-budget and out of reach. This also gives you the chance to monitor different neighborhoods over time for crime reports and residential activity. Drive by occasionally at different times of the day to get a feel for the culture of the communities. Are there a lot of kids playing outside? Do you see pets running free or safely enclosed in fenced yards? These neighborhood characteristics are important for making the entire family feel safe and comfortable in your new home.
Get preapproved for a home loan to save you time and inconvenience in the future. Sellers tend to favor buyers that are preapproved since their offers are presented as more serious. Besides, without preapproval, you could miss your chance to put in an offer if another preapproved buyer gets theirs in first. With a preapproval, you know exactly what you can afford, taking the guessing work out of a home search. This allows you to focus on what’s really important: finding the perfect home.
Budgeting is an important aspect to buying a home. Make sure you have enough set aside to afford the down payment and closing costs. Saving up will take financial stress off of you and the household. If you are selling and buying, don’t bank on money from the sale of your home. Keep your family and finances secure by separating these two transactions so they don’t depend on one another. If something were to go wrong with the sale of your home and a buyer falls through, that could jeopardize the purchase of your next home if you were counting on money from that sale. Besides, these transactions take time and money changes hands multiple times before it reaches you. You can’t control the speed of the process and if it were to take an extended amount of time, that could harm you and your family financially. Take the necessary precautions now and budget so that you don’t have to worry about it when it comes time to close on your new dream home!