Finding your dream home is like finding your dream partner. It can take a while, but when you find the one, you’ll know. When you find that perfect place to live, you’ll have the perfect home to make memories in, whether it’s a city apartment, a rural cottage, or a tiny home.
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Finding your dream home is a lot easier than finding the perfect partner, luckily. With some planning and work (and help from a great real estate agent, get more info here), you can find the right home for you.
Find Your Style
Maybe you love a craftsman home or the sleeker appeal of a penthouse apartment. You’ll be happiest in a home that will work best for you, so think about your needs.
A single family home has more privacy and freedom, ideal for kids and pets who need a yard, but they can also mean a lot of maintenance. Condos sometimes have condo associations that will look after a lot of this outside maintenance, but it might not have the green space that a growing family needs, and will have monthly fees to consider.
Do Your Homework
Maybe you know that you want to live uptown, downtown, or in the country, but different neighborhoods can vary a lot, even in the same area. To find the right one for you, do some research. Look at online real estate listings to get an idea of the kinds of homes available in the area, look at the walkability score and browse some review sites to see where you might be eating out or ordering your takeout from.
Go offline for more research and visit areas in person as well, especially if you’re going somewhere completely new. Spending a weekend driving or walking around a few areas can give you a feel for the place you might call home.
Know Your Finances
Before you start to look for homes, try to get pre-approved. This can be a daunting process, but it doesn’t need to be. Get your finances in order first to make things go as smoothly as possible. Order your credit report and check where you stand, and if there are any corrections or improvements you can make. Get proof of income in the form of some paystubs and W2s. Work out the finds you have available for a down payment and closing costs.
Stay On Budget
Once you’ve been pre-approved, and know what you will qualify for, you might be tempted to look for homes at the top end of your budget, but this isn’t always smart. Taking on a bigger mortgage than you can manage can quickly lessen your love for your new home.
Instead, it’s wise to adopt the 28/36 ruke. This means that your monthly housing expenses shouldn’t exceed 28% of your gross monthly income, and all your monthly expenses, including housing costs, car payments, and student loans, should not exceed 36% of your gross monthly income. If you stick to these guidelines, you will be able to comfortably afford to live in your home.