Effective home searches

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December 19, 2011

Buying a home is a long process, and approaching it correctly from the beginning can save a great deal of time and effort later, as well as improving the chances of securing a desirable home.

Real estate agents can become an extremely helpful resource during the process. To ensure that homebuyers are getting the best possible advice, according to one agent, they should ask a prospective agent about his or her hardest deals, and make certain the agent is familiar with the area they wish to live in.

Selecting homes

Perhaps the most difficult part of the home search is determining what to look for. Homes come in varying shapes and sizes, with different colors and characteristics. Paying attention to all the details can become problematic, causing buyers to lose focus.

The best way to avoid that is to prepare ahead of time by sitting down and making a list of the most important aspects of the home. For example, one agent told RIS Media, buyers likely have a certain number of bedrooms in mind. Parents may wish to be in a certain school district, or a household might have a particular desire for a larger kitchen.

Some experts recommend making a secondary list of desirable characteristics that the buyers can do without but would prefer. This list can be longer and used to narrow down choices or decide between homes if more than one is appealing.

Purchase preparations

When evaluating potential homes, experts note, prospective buyers should try not to put too much emphasis on easily altered cosmetic details like the color of the walls. Repainting may not be convenient, but it is one of the cheapest and easiest changes to make to a home.

Attention might be better focused, some suggest, on aspects that cannot be altered without extensive and expensive work, such as the floor plan. It may also be difficult to ignore the furniture and belongings of the home's current occupants, but prospective buyers should remember those items will not be there if and when they move in.

Another valuable preliminary step, according to MSN Real Estate, is to get pre-approved for a loan. This can remove the danger of unexpected surprises cropping up partway through a deal and derailing it. It can also help the buyers develop a more accurate sense of what they can afford, so that they do not spend their time walking through homes that are outside of their price range.