Finding the Right Home - Moving Pt 2

Find the Right Home

See part 1, Our New Home, here!

House hunting can be a daunting process. I like to compare it to planning a wedding--fun on Pinterest/Zillow before there's an actual timeline, but then a little less fun and a lot more stressful once it's actually "go time".  With that in mind, I thought I'd share a printable worksheet and lay out a few of the strategies I used to keep us on track and moving forward with as few bumps in the road as possible.

Determine Your Parameters
Whether you're renting or buying, it's important to familiarize yourself with what's available and what typical prices are in your area. Then make a list of your "needs" and your "wants". It's good to know if you'd prefer an extra bedroom but would be willing to compromise with a lower price, or a better commute, for example. Get you a Zillow or account (those are the sites that are used frequently in my city--I know other locations may have different ones) and set your parameters. There are good websites out there that will help you calculate how much house you can afford, so you can set your price range, square footage, bedrooms & bathrooms, and necessary amenities like a garage.

Interview Real Estate Agents and Lenders
It's not always best to just pick one and go with them, it's a good idea to interview 2 or 3 that had good reviews or recommendations and then see which fits you best. Ask them to explain the process, including how inspections work. I worked for a real estate company for a few years and there were some amazing agents who worked mostly with sellers, or exclusively in way higher price ranges, that wouldn't have been the best fit for our needs as first-time homebuyers. Same for lenders--different ones can offer different loan options, so it's good to check it out. (Local readers, let me know if you'd like the details of our realtor, lender, home inspector or title company--they were all fantastic and gave us a really seamless process!) You'll need to be pre-approved by a lender before making an offer on a home unless you're paying the full price in cash. Our city has been an intense market for the last several years, with more and more people moving here, so once we found the right one we needed to snatch it up right away or it would be gone--and having a realtor and lender already secured made that possible!

Visit Open Houses
I spent most Sundays afternoons this spring and summer driving around to open houses. It can be time-consuming, and you definitely want to rule out as many as you can from their online listings, but it was actually really fun. I took photos of decor or renovations that I liked in some homes for inspiration, which I'm glad about because I've sourced some items that we'll be using in our new home from those photos, as well as some color choices for furniture or paint. I also chose to make it kind of a relaxing me-time--our 2-year-old naps in the afternoons right when opens are being held, so Ricky would stay home with her and I would hit the Starbucks drive-through, turn on a podcast, and drive from home to home. I loved looking at all the different styles and ages of home -- I noticed what made things special to me, and how I could replicate those elements. For me, it was things like chunky millwork, color schemes, and a reminder to celebrate the original style of the home with updated character. It's not necessarily a substitute for a showing with your realtor, where you can be a bit more thorough, but it's a really good way to eliminate contenders without having to drag your realtor to 200 houses. Tip--it's a good idea to map them out in advance and keep a list on your phone of the order you want to go in!

Imagine How You Would Live There
Take the time to look at the kitchen and imagine how your items could be organized; what the challenges might be and whether there's a way to address them that you're willing to tackle. Same for areas like closets, bathrooms--I'm not saying that if there's less closet space in the master to not buy that home. This was the case for us, and I had to think about how we could utilize the larger room itself by getting a wardrobe, storing seasonal items elsewhere (we used to have our winter coats and luggage in our master closet in the apartment). It all worked out. But it's good to have a plan for how you'll make the space work for you! Also consider the layout--if you're a super light sleeper who does laundry at nights and you're right by the laundry room, etc. There may be times when you can eliminate cute homes that would work well for others but not for you.

Check Out the Neighborhood & Commute
Drive around the area and look for things that might increase or decrease the resale value of the home. Drive your commute to work or daycare/kid's schools, church, etc. It's also a good idea to visit your local police department's website and check out crime statistics. Never the most fun part to think about, but good to know these things.

Keep Only Your Top Choice
If you're viewing several homes in one day, or going to several open houses, only keep your top choice in the running! Maximum two choices. If you go into a home and immediately know you don't like it as much as another, remove it from your list. The broker I used to work for would print out listing info sheets for each home he took buyers on, and each time they left a home that would either be their top contender, or they would wad up the sheet and toss it in the back (to recycle later). Doing it this way helps keep your eye on the prize, and helps prevent the mix & match mindset that it can be easy to fall into (I like House #1's first floor and House #2's basement and backyard).  You can only buy one, so pick your favorite and get the other one out of your mind!

Be Emotionally Ready to Pull the Trigger
As I mentioned above, our area has been a hot seller's market for several years now. That could change at any moment, but the reality is that while we were searching, cute, well-priced homes in our price range and desired location were often gone within a day. So when we found the right one, we had to act fast! I had a letter to the seller drafted and ready to go, with a few personalized touches that I added after the fact with details about that specific home. We had our realtor ready to fill in the contract and we signed it immediately using electronic signatures. It's a bummer to not get a house you really love, but it's even worse if you know the reason you didn't get it is that you didn't put in an offer!
Right-click to open larger image in new tab

Look out for packing and moving tips coming soon! You can follow me on my socials (below) or subscribe at the top of this page.
What tips would you give to prospective home buyers to help them find the right home? Leave them in the comments below!

You can stay up to date by following me on FacebookPinterest, Instagram & Twitter and subscribe at the top right of this page. Sharing is caring :) 

If you're a brand or company and would like to do a collaborative post, review, or advertisement, please contact me at




Popular Posts