When you're browsing sites like Zillow or Trulia, finding the right home for the right price can seem overwhelming. Try taking it step by step and you'll be in your new home in no time.
Make a plan and a list
It's important to go into your home search with a long-term plan. Do you know how long you want to stay in your home? Will it be big enough if you decide you want to grow your family? Will it suit your needs just as well five years from now as it does today? A home is a big commitment, so it's important that yours works well until you're ready to move on.
Once you have your plan, it's time to make a list. This list will be the road map your real estate agent uses to help find your perfect home. Make sure you have a good idea about what is a must-have and what you're willing to compromise on. You should think about the:
- number of bedrooms
- number of bathrooms
- school district
- yard features
- price per square foot
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Find a Realtor
Finding the right Realtor or real estate agent can make your home buying process go much smoother than if you did it on your own. This person should be familiar with the area and should take the time to get to know you and your family in order to help guide you to the right house. Be sure you're on the same page when it comes to how you'll communicate--you don't want to be constantly texting your agent only to find out he only answers phone calls, or vice versa.
Put in an offer
Once you find the right home it's time to start talking money! Putting in an offer doesn't guarantee that you'll get the house, but it's definitely a step in the right direction. There are different offer strategies that either go in below, at, or above asking and they all have different pros and cons.
If you're not sure what you should offer, your real estate agent or Realtor should be able to give you some advice on how far below asking you can start with.
Live happily ever after
Once your offer is accepted and all the paperwork is completed, all that's left is to move into your house and start making it a home! Read more about renovations and remodeling, or the everyday of homeownership.