The Home Buying Process: The Search

Updated on April 18, 2020
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Michelle has been a Real Estate Broker over 15 years. She loves educating buyers and sellers on how to make their transactions go smoothly.

The Home Buying Process: The Search
The Home Buying Process: The Search

One of the most important steps of the home buying process—and perhaps the most exciting—is searching for your future home. Your real estate agent is your biggest asset during this time. They know the market and will help you find the right home that meets your needs.

Take notes about homes you find online.
Take notes about homes you find online.

Preparing for the Search

By the time you're ready to search for a home, your real estate agent should already have your pre-approval in hand and know exactly what your price range is. You have given your agent your criteria and the home search is officially underway. Your agent will schedule appointments and show you homes that fit your criteria, including location. You can also begin searching for homes on your agent's website or realtor.com. There are many places to look just make sure to write down any homes that you have an interest in so you can give the address to your agent.

What to ask yourself when considering your criteria:

  • How large of a home do you have in mind?
  • How many bedrooms and baths do you need?
  • Do you need a garage?
  • What style of home do you prefer? Ranch, two-story, etc.
  • What type of dining area would you like? Eat-in kitchen, formal dining room, etc.
  • What are the things you can’t live without?

Make sure you have your home criteria written down. Must-haves at the top of the list, would be nice to have at the end. Your goal is to help your real estate agent visualize the features and style of home you would be happy with.

You know the old saying: location, location, location!
You know the old saying: location, location, location!

Location Is Still Everything

When searching for a home keep in mind your needs and lifestyle. You want to choose a location that will get you to school or work a reasonable amount of time. Some folks like long commutes and some folks want to be home in less than five minutes after work. That will be all up to you. Maybe you would like to be near a library or your favorite coffee shop. These are things you need to keep in mind when selecting a location. If you go to the gym you don’t want to drive ten or fifteen miles to get there. Seriously, if you don’t like the location you’re not going to like the house. You will be wasting time looking in neighborhoods you know you aren’t very fond of. Do not consider homes you know won’t work. Save your sanity! The home search becomes overwhelming for some because they want to look at every home on the market!

Tips to Finding the Perfect Neighborhood for You

  • Drive through the neighborhoods you are interested in. You want to get a feel for the atmosphere, including at night.
  • Talk to neighbors.
  • Talk to the mail delivery person.
  • What are the amenities, if any?
  • Is there an association? What’s the yearly fee? What's included in the fee? (Your agent will have this information.)

Tour neighborhoods that you are interested in
Tour neighborhoods that you are interested in

Narrow Down Your Search

Once you’ve eliminated homes that just won’t work for you, begin narrowing your search down.

If you’ve already found your dream home just by looking at homes on the internet and riding through neighborhoods, that’s great! However, the reality is you haven’t, but you do have a few you really like. Your agent will be happy to show you the homes you like and any they think will work for you.

Your real estate agent will inform you if they see a home that may work for you. If you just can’t find the home you are looking for or if it is taking more time than expected don’t become discouraged. New listings are constantly coming on the market. You will find your perfect home, dream home, right now home or whatever you want to call it. Once you do find your new home with the help of your fabulous agent, the next step in the process will be making an offer.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2016 Michelle McLaughlin

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