Buying a home can be stressful, scary and exciting all at the same time. A buyer has so much to do when they decide to buy a home, and sometimes they can get overwhelmed. That's why the best way to prepare for purchasing a home is by doing things bit by bit. By taking things slowly and one thing at a time, you can make the home buying process less stressful.
One of the things every prospective buyer has to do is look at houses. But when it's actually time to look through a home, it may be overwhelming. Many buyers ask questions like: "How do I know which is the best home for me?" and "What do I need to ask during the tour?" and "Does the house have everything I want?" Feeling overwhelmed about physically going out and looking for homes is normal, especially for first time buyers. If you're a buyer, and worried about how to do a home tour, don't fret! That's why Landmark Home Warranty has created this 5 step article to help prep yourself for going through homes.
- Look at Listings
First, look at listings. At this point, you should have already gotten a pre-approval letter from the mortgage company and also picked the best real estate agent for you. The pre-approval letter will tell you the top amount of money for which you can purchase a home and get a mortgage. Use this to look at homes at that price and below. Your realtor will begin to show you listings on the Multiple Listings Service that fit in this price range and where you're located. Start going through them and looking at everything.
You'll look at hundreds of listings before you actually buy a home. Take the time to look at all the information in each listing to see whether you want to look at it in person or not. Use an excel sheet to map out what listings are available, which ones you're interested in seeing in person, which ones you may want to see but aren't extremely interested in and the ones you absolutely do not want. A great way to know which ones are which are by using your wants and needs that you have written out.
- Use your Wants and Needs
If you haven't written out your wants and needs in a home list, you can click that link and fill it out now. Once you have what you want in a home and what you need in a home written out, you can look closely at the listings and better determine what you love, like and dislike.
There will be some listings where you'll say, "Nope, no way would I want that house!" and those should be marked as a dislike on your sheet. If there are some deal breakers on the home (no kitchen appliances sold with the home, or no backyard when you have big dogs who need space to run) you can easily eliminate those as places you don't want to go and view.
There will also be houses that have things you're unsure of about the listing. They have things that aren't exactly what you want. If there are parts of the home that you like, but it doesn't have everything you want, mark it has a like. Remember: you won't find 100% of what you want in a home. You'll find around 75% of your wants and needs.
Finally, for the listings that seem to mark off all of your needs, mark them as love. Those are the properties that you'll want to view on a home tour.
- Virtual Tours
Before going on an actual tour of the home, take the homes you love and like and use the virtual tour option on the listing. If they don't have an option for a virtual listing, try and piece together what the home looks like through photos. Don't just use the MLS listing, though. Type the address into listing sites like Zillow, Trulia and Redfin to see other pictures from previous listings, and get information about crime, the neighborhoods and selling history.
Look up schools around the area to see what their ratings are, and don't be afraid to pull up the address on Google Maps to see entertainment, shopping and restaurants nearby.
With this virtual tour, determine if the property is something you'd be interested in seeing, or if there are any deal breakers you've found. Feel free to ask your real estate agent about any questions you might have about the surrounding neighborhood.
- Create a List of Questions
If you've decided that a certain home is something you're interested in seeing, write down all the questions you have about the property on a sheet. You'll have a number of them as you go through this process, and they should be able to be answered by your Realtor. If your Realtor cannot answer your questions, he or she can always call the listing agent to ask questions.
- Finalize your list of homes you want to see
Finally, finalize the list of homes you want to see. At this point, you'll have a good idea of what homes are where, what they look like, a good background on their neighborhood and more. You'll be well versed in each listing, and know what questions you have before you get there. Give your Realtor a list of the homes you're most interested in seeing, as well as the questions you have. Your Realtor will schedule days where you can go and tour the homes you're interested in seeing, and will have time to research the answers to your questions if they don't know them off hand.
You're now prepared to go view homes on tours! Congratulations. Make sure to ask about home warranties while you're looking at the homes, too. If a home is protected under listing coverage, you can feel safe and secure in knowing the systems and appliances are protected. You can always ask for a home warranty on the house when you're closing on it, as well. Compare the plans and pricing for home warranty plans to find which one is right for you, here.