It’s a new year.  Is it time for you to get serious about finding a new home? Is it time to downsize or get the dream home you have been saving for?  If so, then I know just what you need to do to get started!

Pre-Qualify – First things first.  Talk to a lending specialist to see what your options are for the financing of your home.  Also, they can be quite helpful in helping you determine how much you can truly afford as well.  Then get pre-qualified for whatever financing you will need.  This is crucial to do ahead of time so you don’t get your heart all set on a particular place only to find out you can’t finance it or afford it. 

Make a List (or Several) – Start making a list of what you need in a home.  Size, number of bathrooms and bedrooms.  Where you would like to live.  Prioritize that list as to what is most important down to least important before you ever start to look.  This will help you stay focused when it comes time to look at different choices you may have.  

Find Your Realtor – Now find the Realtor that is right for you.  If this is your first time out, ask friends and family members who they have used in the past and most likely you will get some good names to check out first.  Then meet and interview those Realtors to see who might be a right fit for you because you will be working closely with them and you need to feel comfortable and that they will do their best to help you in your search.  Remember: you are looking for an expert and a good one is worth their commission in gold.  Real estate transactions have all sorts of twists and turns and you want someone in your corner who knows what they are doing so they can protect you from any pitfalls or issues along the way.  After you have made your choice, you can let them know what you pre-qualified for and what all your specifications are.  Then is the best time to truly start looking.  A good agent will be able to suggest some things you might not have thought of as well as help you see some options you have chosen yourself.  

Prepare Yourself and Your Home – First, shopping for a new  home is not like shopping for a book online and then POOF it appears in a couple of days.  It’s more like shoe shopping.  You have to be specific about your size and take time to try them on and see how they fit.  A lot of homes may look perfect online, but, you need to go in them, see their layout and features, to see if they are the right “fit” for you.  If you think buying a pair of good shoes is hard, shopping for a home is a lot more complicated.  AND since it is more complicated, to be sure you get what is right for you, each step will take a bit of time.  Prepare yourself for that because when you are ready for something to happen, each step seems to take FOREVER to get past. But each step is important to get RIGHT.  From the inspections to the closing. Also, since each step takes time, fill the waiting times by going through things in your home and slowly packing up stuff you don’t use often.  Clean out your closets and junk drawers, organize your garage.  Start donating extra stuff you don’t need.  All of this is good to do, regardless of when you will actually move.  Sometimes, the process might go quicker in some areas than you thought it might and it’s always good to be as prepared as you can be!

I hope knowing these steps will get you ready for shopping for your new home this year!  It can be a daunting process at times, but, I did it last year and it was oh so worth it.  AND when it’s time to interview your Realtors, I know a few good ones to call! 

Until Next Time!

Jen Lush–Associate Broker and Mother of Managing Broker

This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.