Define Your Goals
Buying a home may seem like a goal in itself, but it's also the means to achieve other goals. Knowing why you're buying will help you define your criteria and make your search quicker and easier.
Is this your first home purchase? If so, why do you want to own rather than rent? Is it for the future return on your investment? For the freedom to improve your home according to your own tastes and needs? Because you've decided it makes more sense to pay your own mortgage instead of someone else's?
Are you changing locations to be closer to work, schools, family or recreation? Are you seeking more peaceful surroundings away from crowds and traffic? Or do you want to be where the action is? Are you moving to meet the needs of a growing or shrinking family? Are you seeking a different lifestyle?
Just as the foundation provides support for a home, answering these types of questions will lay the groundwork for a smooth home purchase.
Analyze Your Wants and Needs
Once you know why you're moving, consider the qualities in your new home that will achieve your goals.
What size lot will you want? How many bedrooms and bathrooms? Do you have a style or layout preference? Would a low-maintenance home, such as a condo or townhome, best suit your needs? Are amenities - such as a pool, fitness center, tennis courts, walking trails or golf courses - important to you? What about location?
Once you have a list of the things you're looking for in a home, group them into categories. Make lists of the things your home must have, the things you'd like it to have, and the things it can't have. Because it's extremely rare to find the "100% home" this list will help you make decisions as you evaluate your options.
Explore Financing Options and Determine Your Price Range
The thought of taking on a mortgage - whether it's your first one or a bigger one - is perhaps the scariest part of a home search for many buyers. But you have nothing to fear from meeting with a lender, even if you have concerns about your credit. Helping people find their way to home ownership is what they do every day. We can recommend a reputable lender, so you'll know you're in good hands.
Your lender will determine the best financing program for you and help you focus your search on the wisest price range. Knowing what you can afford before you start looking at homes can help you avoid big disappointments down the road.
Select and View Homes that Meet Your Criteria
Searching for homes is much easier today than in years past. With the click of your mouse, you can browse the multitude of homes on the market, view photos and read detailed descriptions to quickly narrow your focus to the homes that will best suit your wants and needs. You'll want to view enough properties to get an idea of what the market has to offer. But touring too many homes can create "home shopping fatigue" and make decisions more difficult.
There is more to finding the right home than you can learn from virtual tours and floor plans. We can help you identify those that are most likely to be "winners".