Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Preparing for House Hunting

Most of us here in coastal North Carolina eagerly count down the days of winter as we anxiously await those bright and breezy days ahead. The winter months tend to be the slow season for home sales everywhere, which is why now is a great time for prospective home buyers to chart their course of action. That way, when the aftermath of the holidays and headaches of tax time are resolved, hopeful buyers will be in a position to jump on listings that meet their specifications and budget. What's that? You know you want to purchase a home but haven't quite hammered out some of the finer details? Here's a handy checklist that should help make way for smooth sailing on your quest for a new home:

Establish your budget

Rather than waste time looking at homes that you will never be able to afford, go ahead and get pre-approved for a mortgage. That way, you'll know your financial boundaries and your searches will be more rooted in reality. Sellers also seem to take pre-approved buyers a little more seriously!

It's a good idea to also take time to thoroughly look at your financial picture. You are likely to be pre-approved for more than it makes sense to spend. Get a good idea of what you can afford for a down payment, and for your monthly mortgage payment.

Pinpoint your first choice location

For many, this will likely be the first consideration. Of course at Wrightsville Beach, there are so many great locations from oceanfront to sound front and quiet little neighborhoods in between! Decide where you would like to be and then begin watching listings in that area.

Establish "must-have" home features

If you are going into the venture with a partner, their input is also needed and be aware, there will be compromises. Think about aspects such as architectural styles, floor plans, the number of bedrooms, baths, and interior must-haves like tile, granite and hardwood. Big yard or no yard? Porch, deck, or patio? Boat dock, water view, built-in amenities? Free standing home or condo? In such discussions, it may come up that you view a garage as a must have, while your partner feels a state of the art kitchen and spacious bathrooms are priorities. That's why discussing these points before hand can save on time and tension later.

Make the most of online research tools

Of course our experienced agents will be happy to guide you and provide all of the pertinent details on properties you're considering. However, you can also browse current Wrightsville Beach homes for sale on our website and get a sense of what is available on the market right now.

While you're online take a look at our Resources section

There you'll find area information, helpful contacts for everything from your homeowners insurance to tile installation. You can even check out today's weather in beautiful Wrightsville Beach! - Check it out.

Get organized

When looking at many listings it's easy to get overwhelmed, and all the beautiful homes can run together. You start asking yourself, "Which one had the great view from the master bedroom?" "Was that the home with the great built in storage?" Find a system that works for you to keep the details of the homes that have gotten your attention.

If you're into technology you might keep the information on your computer, or even your phone. Or you might prefer a good old fashioned binder in which to store hard copies of flyers and information on listings. When you see a home in person take notes and photos (bring a camera or just take quick shots with your smartphone) and add these to the information you already have on the property.

Taking the time to give a little extra thought to what you want from a future home purchase is also an effective way to streamline the house hunting process. That way, when the right place on Harbor Island, in Cordgrass Bay or the south end hits the market, you'll be ready!

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