Starting a new chapter of your life with a loved one can be exhilarating.
However, since two parties are involved in decision-making, it can also be tricky, especially when finding the perfect home.
Digital tools have made home hunting easier these days, with 97% of buyers relying on the internet and 76% using mobile devices to start their home search. On the one hand, this is good news, but on the other side, it can also cause challenges as more buyers have access to home selling platforms. Add to this the fact that the housing sector has difficulties catching up with the demand. (1)
As a new couple, you don’t want your house shopping delayed. But before starting your journey, this article will help you find your best home without hassle.
1. Start with your budget
Buying a home can sometimes be an overwhelming decision. But knowing how much you can afford can stop you from financial ruin. Before home shopping, sit with your spouse and analyze your finances. List down all your recurring expenses and deduct them from your pay. Don’t forget to leave a reasonable amount for unexpected costs.
Once you’ve determined how much you can afford, it’ll be easier to make a shortlist of your dream houses in The Hamptons or elsewhere. This prevents you from getting frustrated over falling in love with a place you can’t afford. In other words, setting a budget provides you with a realistic view of the neighborhood and the types of properties you need to check. (2)
2. List your must-haves
Homebuyers should be clear with what they want and don’t want in a property. Thus, before scanning online for prospects, make a checklist of the ideal qualities of your dream home. More than checking the style and design, prioritize the structure of the property rather than worrying about its cosmetic flaws.
In general, these crucial considerations must make it to your list:
- Strategic location: More than anything else, your dream home should provide you with the utmost comfort. Ideally, it must be located near your office and essential places like restaurants, shops, schools, hospitals, and transport systems.
- Structurally sound: If you’re buying a pre-built home, check the property’s overall quality. There are no structural issues, as these can put you and your future family in danger. Homes with these problems require significant repair costs.
- The number of rooms: As a new couple, you might overlook the need for more space as your family grows. This early, it’s good to consider buying a home with more than two rooms, especially if you’re planning to have children.
- Safe: If you worry about your health and safety after checking a home, scratch it off your list. Issues like mold, pest infestation, and faulty electrical wiring, to name a few, must be fixed before moving in. Moreover, consider the neighborhood and security situation in the area.(3)
3. Shop around
Whether you’re planning to hire a real estate agent or house hunting as a couple, you shouldn’t jump at the first home offer—especially if the price is too low. You may tap various home selling channels to start your home hunting journey. With the help of an agent, you can also access the multiple listing service for homes that aren’t available online. (2)
4. Get pre-approved for a mortgage
If you’re buying a home through a loan, it pays to get pre-approved beforehand. With it, you can search for homes better, knowing how much loan amount you have access to. Note that lending institutions have different screening processes, and your capacity to pay may not align with the bank’s final assessment. (2)
You’ll likely use your savings to fill the gap if you’ve made an offer without knowing how much the bank will lend you. However, if you don’t have enough cash, it’ll be a total waste of time as you need to cancel your offer and start from scratch.(2)
5. Never skip a home viewing
An actual visit to your dream home choices is a must if you want to avoid buyers’ regret in the future. Only by getting inside the property can you check and validate if the property ticks all the boxes or if you may need to make some adjustments to your budget and expectations.(2)
Ask questions about the home and focus on the positive and negative points while viewing. Schedule it during the daytime to have a better look at the interior and exterior sections of the home. Moreover, check every nook and cranny for potential problems and identify areas that might need repair. You can use these to negotiate for a lower price later on.(4)
6. Seek professionals to help you
Besides a real estate agent, lending institutions will send a home inspector and appraiser to verify the property’s estimated value and the amount you want to borrow. Also, some states require buyers to hire a lawyer to assist buyers in checking the contract, explaining applicable laws, changes to property tax calculations, and other legal implications of buying a home.(4)
In the end, buying a home as a couple doesn’t need to be frazzling. Follow the tips above for stress-free home hunting that’ll take you to your dream home in no time.
- “Real Estate in a Digital Age”, Source: https://www.nar.realtor/research-and-statistics/research-reports/real-estate-in-a-digital-age
- “Top House Hunting Mistakes”, Source: https://www.investopedia.com/articles/mortgage-real-estate/09/buy-house-emotion-free.asp
- “Finding the Perfect Home”, Source: https://www.hgtv.com/lifestyle/real-estate/finding-the-perfect-home
- “How to Buy a House”, Source: https://www.nytimes.com/guides/realestate/how-to-buy-a-house