5 Real Estate Tips to Help You Find Your Dream Home

Buying your dream home is one of the most exciting moments in life; the fruition to all your hard work. But as exciting as it can be, the home-buying process can also be a physically and mentally exhausting one, from driving to prospective properties to reviewing your financing options with your bank. To make it less stressful and more enjoyable, here are five real estate tips that every home buyer should use, whether it’s your first home or 10th.

Secure Your Down Payment

The standard is 20 percent down payment on a mortgage, but many lenders now allow you to finance a home with a lower initial percentage. In fact, you can find first-time homebuyer programs that require as low as three percent down payment. That being said, putting down a lower percentage on your mortgage means that you’ll likely pay higher monthly premiums and mortgage insurance. Use a mortgage calculator to zero in on the exact numbers. It’s hard to realize how much money you’re actually putting down just based on percentages. For instance, a five percent down payment on a $400,000 house is $20,000. This is still quite hefty, despite five percent sounding like a trivial amount.

Explore Your Financing Options

If you are unable to string up enough cash to put a down payment on a home, you can use traditional government-sponsored agencies, like Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. FHA and VA loans are also viable mortgage options that require little to no down payment. However, qualifying for these types of mortgages can be a lot harder since these programs are geared towards specific financial or employment situations. For instance, veterans can find housing assistance programs from SoCal VA Homes that deal with Temecula Real Estate that aren’t available to home buyers that have not served in the military. Aside from government-backed programs, you can also find state and local assistance programs that can assist with paying closing costs, down payments, tax credits, etcetera. Check your state or city’s housing website to know more about minimum requirements and qualifications.

Define What Structural/Environmental Features Mean Most To You

In terms of location, ask yourself if you prefer to live in a suburban, urban, or rural neighborhood. Do you need or prefer a neighborhood with easy access to major freeways? Are you looking for neighborhoods with top schools in the state? Do you want breathtaking views? Does traffic noise prevent you from sleeping soundly? In terms of structure, ask yourself if you want to live in a two-story, townhouse, or condominium. How many bathrooms/bedrooms do you need/want? Do you want the floors to be hardwood or carpet? Do you have any architectural styles or design inspirations that you are leaning towards? These are only a few of the many important questions you’ll want to answer before you approach a real estate broker and start viewing properties.

Get Your Prospects Inspected

Once you’ve narrowed down your properties based on price and structural/environmental conditions, you’ll want to have your finalists inspected by a professional to avoid any unpleasant surprises. Even if the house looks pristine from the basement to attic, you should have a home inspection done by a licensed third-party professional. A good inspector can spot current and potential structural flaws that would lower the valuation of the property, such as a bathroom pipe a few flushes away from bursting or a crack in one of the kitchen cupboards that could suggest pest infestation.

Stay Open-Minded

Finding your perfect dream home is similar to finding the perfect partner in life – you adjust. Sure, you may have a certain type of idea of what your dream home should look like, but you don’t want to be closed-minded and miss out on other properties that had all but one feature you were looking for. Stay open-minded and be willing to compromise if the situation demands it. If it’s one bathroom short or has the wrong colored picket fence, you can always make modifications later on.
When finding your dream home, it pays to be patient. Don’t make any major decisions on impulse and make sure to exhaust all options. A home is a big-ticket item that will likely affect your personal finances for years to come. You want to make sure you’re making mortgage payments on a house that you actually love living in.