3 Quick Hunting Tips for Home Buyers

A quick search on realtor.com will bring up thousands of homes for sale.  Educating yourself on your local market and working with an experienced Realtor can help you narrow your priorities and make an informed decision about which home to choose.

Start With Your Budget

Before you begin your house search you should have a preapproval letter in hand from a lender and an idea of your comfort level with a prospective house payment. You and your Realtor can begin to search for homes for sale that fit your budget, but keep in mind that you don’t necessarily want to spend up to the maximum amount you can borrow. On the other hand, you can consider going slightly above your preferred price range as long as the monthly payment is still affordable or if you have extra cash to make a bigger down payment.

Find the Right Neighborhood

After you’ve established your price range you’ll need to narrow your search by neighborhood. You should be looking at neighborhoods that allow an acceptable commute to work. Think about the type of setting in which you want to live – urban, suburban or rural. Do you want a community with lots of outdoor recreational amenities; one with shops, restaurants and nightlife; or one with plenty of activities for children and good schools?

Many homes, whether they are single-family residences, townhomes or villas, are part of a homeowner association (HOA). Part of your search process should be to consider whether you want to live in an HOA or not. On the positive side, HOA rules help protect home values and the dues often include community amenities and maintenance. On the other hand, the rules also limit what you can do with the exterior of your home. You’ll also need to include HOA dues as part of your housing budget.

Condominiums and cooperative homes also have association dues and offer a different type of ownership, with the association owning the exterior of the property while you own the interior. These dues will be part of your housing budget, but they typically include some of your homeowner’s insurance and other costs, as well as pay for amenities such as a swimming pool or a fitness center.

It’s a good idea to visit communities at various times of day and night, and on weekends and weekdays, to get a feel for who lives there and what the activity level is like.

Two important elements of a neighborhood influence how well the homes in that community will hold onto their value: crime and schools. While Fair Housing laws prevent a Realtor from telling clients about crime statistics or talking about ‘good’ or ‘bad’ schools, a Realtor can direct you to websites that provide information about those topics. Even if you don’t have children and don’t plan to have them, buying a home in a well-regarded school district can help the property’s long-term value.

Start Searching

Most buyers start searching for a home online on websites such as realtor.com, but you can also ask a Realtor to help you find homes for sale. You can request email alerts that notify you when a home that fits your list of priorities comes on the market.

You can evaluate a home first by looking at photos and a description online. In many cases, homes’ online listings have virtual tours or videos that offer the opportunity to see more.

The next step in your house hunt is narrowing down your priorities to find the home that meets your needs.

17 thoughts on “3 Quick Hunting Tips for Home Buyers

  1. jresquival

    That’s a good tip to find the right neighborhood. Buying a home that’s far away from your work can really cost you in the long run with commute times. If I were buying a home I’d look for one that was nearby the grocery store and my work.

  2. Tomas Killington

    My sister is currently in the market for a house. She has looked at several homes that are for sale, but she’s unsure which to choose. I didn’t realize how important it is to find a home with a good HOA to ensure you have the amenities and maintenance you desire. I’ll be sure to share this info with my sister.

  3. Afton Jackson

    I didn’t realize that you can request email alerts from your Realtor that fit your criteria when they come on the market. My sister will be in the market for her first home soon. Hopefully, she can use these tips to be kept in the loop when searching.

  4. Afton Jackson

    Soon, my sister will be in the market for a home. This will be her first real estate transaction, so she’s looking for tips to ensure she gets into the right place. I never knew how important it is to find a neighborhood that is near outdoor amenities to ensure your children stay entertained. I’ll pass this info along to my sister today.

  5. Jane Ambrose

    My best friend is thinking about moving her family to a new location, but she isn’t sure how to go about looking for a house in the market right now. I hadn’t thought about narrowing down her search by neighborhood, but it seems like knowing the HOA and the rules of the area would be a great indicator of whether or not an area is right for you. It seems to me like knowing a lot about an area before looking for houses in it can save you a lot of time. I’ll be sure to give this advice to my friend.

  6. Ashley Turns

    My husband and I are wondering how to go about buying our first home. So thanks for suggesting that we figure out what neighborhoods will give us a good commute and are the type of setting we would want to live in. We will be sure to start our search for a home by first figuring out what neighborhoods would be best for us.

  7. Max Sayer

    I have recently been thinking about getting a new home and I wanted to look up a few tips about it. I really appreciated the tip about finding the right neighbourhood. Looking for a neighbourhood that allows an acceptable commute to work is really important to me.

  8. Aleshire Mueller

    I really liked your advice on taking a look at the potential neighborhood to see the lifestyle of the neighbors as well as whether or not it provides an acceptable commute to work. I like the latter better because I do not own a car, and I usually commute to work. It would really be nice if I can get a house that is near the main road or the train stations so life will be easier for me. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Arya Smith

    My favorite part of this article is when you talked about visiting the neighborhood at different times of the day to have an idea about the area. I will definitely do this because I am quite fussy when it comes to my neighbors. I want to have quiet nights and friendly neighbors without the gossip because I am tired of those kinds of people.

  10. Hector Uba

    Thanks for the tips on ways you can make your home hunting experience a better one. Finding a good neighborhood really is one of the first things you should do because you have to live in that area with those people. I would imagine that your neighbors can really make or break the decision to buy a home.

  11. Raymond Cooper

    I’m thinking about getting into my first house next year. I like how you point out that the first thing I ought to do is pick a budget to stick with. I’ll make sure I do this since I don’t want to end up being home broke by buying a home that is more expensive than I can afford.


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