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The First-Time Buyer’s Guide to House Hunting

May 4, 2012

The First-Time Buyer’s Guide to House Hunting

The tips below all relate to the house-hunting process in some way. At this stage, you’ve established a housing budget and been pre-approved by a mortgage lender. You’ve also found a real estate agent to help you through the process. Now you are ready to start looking at houses, which is the most exciting part of the process for most home buyers. Here’s how to do it the right way.

House-hunting tips for first-time home buyers:

Before you start looking at homes, get a feel for property values in your area. You can do this by looking at recent sales data online. Your real estate agent should help you with this. You need to have some familiarity with home prices in your area so you can spot a good value versus an overpriced home.

Don’t expect a single home to check all the boxes for you. Be flexible and open-minded. Most first-time home buyers have to make a compromise of some kind. It’s rare to find a house that meets every single item on your wish list.

Expand your horizons in terms of price, location, and the features of the house. This piggybacks on the item we discussed above. There is a very good chance you will have to compromise on one of these factors. For example, you may find a house that meets all of your needs and falls within your budget–but it’s a few miles outside of your desired area. Or maybe it’s a little above your budget. You’ll have more homes to choose from if you expand your horizons.

First-time home buyers should use multiple tools when searching for houses. Don’t just rely on your real estate agent to provide you with a list of homes for sale. Be proactive about using the Internet to find suitable homes. I recommend that you use three websites simultaneously–, and Your agent will also be looking for homes on the Multiple Listing Service, or MLS.

Don’t make a yes-or-no decision solely by using the Internet, unless the home is completely outside of your parameters. If it meets most of your requirements, it’s worth visiting in person. You may be surprised to find that the home has additional features that were not included on the Internet listing.

Consider looking at bank-owned homes. These are properties that have been foreclosed upon by a bank and are now back on the market. A lot of first-time home buyers shy away from bank-owned foreclosures. But there is a potential for savings that should not be ignored. These homes are often sold for less than their true market value. You can learn more them in this new story and also in this tutorial.
First-time home buyers often have a hard time looking past the decor of a house. You should not be concerned about the curtains, the carpet, or the color of paint on the wall. These things can easily be changed, and often for very little cost. You should be more concerned with things that are difficult or impossible to change–the size of the house, the location, the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Don’t be turned off by the stylistic choices of the current homeowners. Open your mind to the possibilities.

If you are going to be driving to and from work every day, you need to consider the commute time. This is especially important when you start to zero in on a particular house. Before you make an offer on a home, you might want to commute to work from the house during rush hour. It’s an easy drive at 1:00 PM. But what about 5:30 PM? This is a serious quality-of-life issue that needs to be considered. It’s common for first-time home buyers to overlook such factors, when they find the “house of their dreams.” But it won’t be your dream house for long if it takes away from your quality of life.

Consider the quality and desirability of schools in the area. This is important even if you don’t have children. Schools go hand-in-hand with property values. Your home is more likely to appreciate in value if it’s located within a desirable school district. And the opposite is true as well. This factor is even more important for first-time buyers who have school-aged children. Your real estate agent should be able to help in this area. But don’t rely exclusively on your agent. Use the Internet to research schools in your desired location.


Read more:


First, complete a loan application on our website
-Go to
-Click on Apply Now at the top
-Scroll to the middle of the page and Click on 3. Full Application

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