How to Find the Home You’ll Love
Finding a new home is a little like dating. Some people find their one true love early and stick with them through thick and thin. Others have to work a little harder and wait a little longer to find their perfect match.
And if homebuying is similar to dating, then a dedicated, experienced real estate agent can be a helpful matchmaker.
Familiar with the local real estate landscape, connected to other industry professionals (e.g., mortgage lenders, property photographers, home stagers and escrow officers — to name only a few) and knowledgeable about what it takes to get from that first open house to closing day, agents know that the heart of the realty journey is about helping you meet your goals in a timely manner.
Yes, to find the home you’ll love, it’s important to find a great agent. But let’s not forget another key ingredient: your mindset. It’s vital to have one that will help you succeed.
To provide some guidance on that front, we’ve pulled together five fundamental things you need to know about yourself as you start your homebuying journey. Together, they can keep you going, even when you hit a roadblock.
Know your style
Are you looking for a minimalist, two-bedroom urban condo near upscale eateries or a sprawling suburban house with a neighborhood pool?
Do you want the freedom to rip out your landscaping and design a garden full of edible plants? Or would you prefer the restrictions on outdoor plantings that a homeowners association (HOA) provides?
Would you like to spend your weekends hiking a nearby trail or going DIY on an older home that becomes a real showplace?
At the intersection of your decor and lifestyle preferences rests your personal style. And thinking about it can prime you to match with the right property.
Know your needs
Itching to move your remote work setup out of the dining room and into a study? Need great garage storage to support your woodworking hobby? Think through what you truly need to prioritize what matters most.
Know your weaknesses
Prone to overthinking your options? You might risk losing out to another buyer. Or perhaps you're so easily moved by gorgeous home staging or a particular neighborhood's popularity that you risk making an offer above what you can reasonably afford.
If you can identify how to best keep your head and heart aligned, then you’ll be better prepared to navigate the ups and downs of the new home search.
Know your finances
When it comes to buying a home, money is a major factor. So, pull together your account details, take a look at your budget and make plans to talk with a mortgage lender right away.
A trustworthy loan officer can help you identify and address any financial barriers to your plans, such as a poor credit score or debt-to-income (DTI) ratio.
Tip: If you don’t already have or know a mortgage lender, ask your credit union, banking institution or real estate agent for guidance. (And don't forget to consider all of the costs of homebuying and homeownership as you plan your budget.)
As you prepare to enter the real estate market, it’s helpful to request the following from your mortgage lender:
- A prequalification letter: Based solely on the basic information you provide (often online through the mortgage lender’s website), it includes a quick estimate of the loan size for which you may qualify. It’s usually secured early in the process, when you’re first starting to look at homes.
- A preapproval letter: Based upon a deeper understanding of your financial well-being (e.g., credit history report, detailed information provided via forms, etc.), the lender can give you an estimated interest rate offer and a maximum principal amount. A preapproval letter can give you a clearer picture of what you can actually afford – and it can help speed up the buying process by signaling to a prospective seller that you're serious about your offer.
Know your future plans
No need to consult a crystal ball! By thinking about what you want for the future and how those factors (your family, friends and your planned career trajectory) may influence your life, you can better identify how your housing needs may change. Given that a house is a major investment, it makes sense to consider how soon (if ever) you might outgrow it.
Finally, don’t be afraid to share these personal insights and reflections with a trusted real estate agent. They can help you stay on track with your goals and priorities.
Looking to buy a home you love in the Central Texas area? Remember that Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty — RBFCU’s preferred real estate partner — can help.
Kuper Realty Holding Company LLC, dba Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty, is a subsidiary of RBFCU Services LLC. RBFCU Services LLC is affiliated with Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union (RBFCU).