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Home Property Search

April 9th, 2013 - 9:36 AM

Home Search 101

Looking a new home is a big deal. A home is not just walls and doors; it’s a place where you and your family make memories and spend time together. Whether you’re moving locally or moving long distance, I have some great tips, resources, and advice to assist in your home property search. Let’s begin.

Helpful resources for how to find a home

First off, if you’re looking for a home property search engine, then I suggest looking at websites like Zillow.com, Realtor.com, and Trulia.com. You can easily do a property search by address, city, state, or zip code on these sites. You can look at homes for sale, for rent, get price estimates, and even compare prices of recently sold properties.

Insider tip: For a more localized approach, I would Google search “(your new city) real estate agent” and see if any local real estate agents’ websites show up in the results. If they do, then go to one of their websites to look at the MLS (Multiple Listing Service). You’ll be able to search the area you are interested in as well as surrounding communities. If you find a home you like, write down that MLS # for future reference.

Questions to ask before buying a home

Before buying a home, ask yourself important questions to help narrow down your search.

  • Where do I want to live? Country, city, or somewhere in between?
  • What type of home fits my family? Single-family? Condo? Townhouse?
  • Do I want a single story home or more than one story?
  • What type of architectural style piques my interest? Ranch? Colonial? Victorian?
  • Would I rather have a corner lot, be in a cul-de-sac, or lined up on a street?
  • Does a split floor plan matter to me?
  • How many bedrooms and bathrooms do I need?
  • How many square feet do I want in my home?
  • Do I need a garage, bonus room, or fenced in backyard?
  • Is an open floor plan appealing or am I more traditional with the layout of the house?
  • Am I interested in special things like a pool, hot tub, or fireplace?
  • Will an older home suit me best, or will a newer home be more my style?
  • Could I do a fixer-upper or am I looking for move-in ready?
  • How close are schools, shopping, and restaurants to my home?
  • What’s the commute time like from my home to my work?
  • Could I see myself living here for several years (5-7)?
  • Will this home adapt to life changes (baby, child moves back in, etc.).
  • What’s the deal breaker? If this house didn’t have ___, I wouldn’t buy it.
  • What’s the neighborhood like?
  • How much house can I afford?
  • How easy will it be to resell this home?

Knowing what you want or what you are interested in will help your house hunt to go much smoother. Plus, it will be easier for your real estate agent to find houses to show you that are suited to your tastes.

Tips and advice for your real estate search

After you’ve found some homes you’re interested in and asked yourself some questions, take these tips and advice into consideration:

  • Speak your mind. It’s okay to say that you don’t like something about a home you see. Remember, you’ll be living in the home, not your realtor. Tell the truth and provide feedback, the good and bad, and he/she will continue to do their best to find your perfect home.
  • Compromise. It’s likely you won’t get everything on your wish list, so don’t be afraid of compromise. You may have one or two deal breakers, but everything else needs to be prioritized.
  • Prepare for other expenses. Buying a home isn’t the only thing you’ll be spending your money on. Usually, buying a home also means moving from one home to the next. If you’re planning a long distance move, I suggest using an affordable moving option like U-Pack, where U-Pack does the driving for you at a rate competitive with truck rental. Get a free moving quote from U-Pack and start comparing today.
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage before you start looking. This way, you know how much you can spend. If you look at a home outside your budget and then have to start looking at homes you can actually afford, you might feel disappointed.
  • Do you realtor research. Don’t choose just any realtor to show you homes, do your homework! This includes possibly interviewing the realtors, getting referrals, and previewing a few homes to see how you work together and how hard they will work for you.
  • Location, Location, Location. It’s not said three times for nothing. Location is the most important factor when searching for a home - always keep this in mind

Let us know your home property search tips by commenting below. I’d love to hear them!

Finding your new home

I wish you the best in searching for your new home! If you have any questions, just leave me a comment and I’ll be happy to help!