House Hunting 101

Buying a home is a major, life-altering event, but it's not worth making yourself stressed over things you cannot control. Never make a hasty decision, especially if you feel yourself becoming guided by emotion. Planning and research can overcome most obstacles. Selecting the right home takes time, thought and analysis. Just follow these tips to get you started:

  • Get preapproved. Rather than guessing on how much house you can afford, have our RBFCU Mortgage Team provide you with a financial assessment and a letter stating how much you're qualified to borrow. The qualifying amount is determined by your household income, creditworthiness, interest rates, type of loan and how much available cash you have for the down payment and closing costs, among other contributing factors. Arming yourself with the knowledge of how much home you can afford can help you realistically limit your search, and ensure sellers will take your offer more seriously when it's accompanied with a pre-approval letter.

  • Make a list. Differentiate your needs vs. your wants. Focus on the features you must have, would like to have and definitely don't want. Your goal is to find the right home for you and your family without cluttering up emotions for ones that don't suit your needs. Start compiling your wish list by thinking about what you like and dislike about your current home.

  • Location matters. No doubt, you've heard the expression "location, location, location." When looking for a home, location is probably one of the most critical considerations. How far are you willing to commute to work? How good are the local schools, shopping centers and other public amenities? A poorly located home can be a particularly bad choice if you anticipate reselling within a few years.

  • Do your homework. Not too long ago, homebuyers had little access, if any, to information about recent home sales prices, market trends, homes on the market, days on the market or neighborhood statistics. Today, all this information is available via the Internet, so be sure to take the time to surf the web. Get educated and empower yourself with the tools you need to increase your buying power. You will also want to remain in close contact with your RB Premier Realty agent.

  • Make a checklist. As you begin your house-hunting venture, prepare a checklist. Rather than relying on memory, make notes about the homes you visit. Turn your priorities into a personalized home-shopping checklist and use it to track the features of each home. Assign a scoring system that will help you compare houses at the end of the day. After viewing many homes, these numbers begin to look the same and lose meaning, so be sure to distinguish features as thoroughly as possible. Review your checklist and notes and compare it against your needs, wants and budget.

  • Be prepared to make an offer. If you find a house you like, offer a competitive bid. Keep in mind you may be competing against other offers – depending on season and market. And don't forget – once you make an offer, make it contingent upon the findings of a professional home inspection. If any major defects or issues surface, you'll want to be able to renegotiate or back out of the deal completely.

At RB Premier Realty, we can help you navigate through the house-hunting process. Our agents can help you narrow down your search criteria, identify areas based on location preferences, and ensure that your best interests are represented throughout the entire home buying process – keeping you on-task and on-budget. Contact RB Premier Realty today to get started with your home search!

RB Premier Realty LLC is a wholly-owned subsidiary of RB Premier Services LLC. RB Premier Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU).

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