Ever watch HGTV and wonder how a couple in their mid-20’s can shop for homes in the $900,000 range?
Same here. Most of us have a slightly more modest budget to work with.
In any case, start with a few home buyer sites like these:
Just put in the zip code or city you’re searching in and start shopping. Once you’ve identified a few places where you think you might want to live, get in your car and drive to the homes themselves.
It’s important to get a feel for the neighborhood. As the real estate commercials say, you’re not just looking for a home, you’re looking for a place for your life to happen (or something along those lines.)
Find a neighborhood that feels like home, one that feels comfortable and safe, and visit it more than once at different times during the day and the evening. A home that looks inviting during the day may feel different at night. It’s also a good way to find out if your prospective neighbors are on the quiet side, or a little more lively.
You’ll also want to map out the distance to work and to pick out more than one route. Actually, drive the distance from any home you’re looking at to your job during the hours you work. There may be some hidden traffic issues you need to know about — like pesky one-lane highways or train tracks or a bad stretch of road or a traffic light that takes forever to change.
You’ll also want to map out a route to whatever else you prioritize — shopping, dining, the nearest branch of your bank or pharmacy.
When you’re visiting prospective neighborhoods, it’s also a good idea to actually go shopping there to see if you’re comfortable. A personal test is always to try out the nearest grocery store to see if the produce is fresh.
Once you’ve mapped out a few places on your own, it’s time to call in the professionals. You’ll need a good realtor or real estate agent. From realtor.com:
A real estate agent is someone with a license to sell a property. Real estate agents earn their licenses by taking more than 100 hours of coursework and passing a state exam.
A real estate broker is someone who has gone beyond the initial 100 hours and can hire agents to work under them.
A realtor is either an agent or broker who is a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Realtors must adhere to a detailed code of ethics to treat clients with fairness and honesty.
One of the most important things a real estate agent or broker tells people shopping for a home: Worry more about things you can’t change than the things you can. In other words, the location matters, the color of the carpet doesn’t. They’ll also have access to homes you probably won’t find on your own.
To help you find the right realtor or real estate agent, as well as shop for homes, you can start with personal recommendations of friends or relatives who have purchased homes, as well as this site: https://www.realtor.com/