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House hunting can be an exciting, and sometimes stressful time. With all of the prospects Chicago has to offer it can also be a little overwhelming. There are a few things you can do to make sure you get the home that works best for you and for your lifestyle. These are a few ideas that will help you narrow down your search:
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
The first thing you’ll need to know is the amount of money you can comfortably spend on a house. Discuss your loan options with a lender and have them give you a pre-approval letter detailing your approved loan amount. When you know your price range, it will be much easier to narrow down your search. Now you’ll know what your monthly mortgage payment will be, and sellers will immediately see you as a serious buyer.
Create a List
What are you looking for in a new home? How many bedrooms, bathrooms, do you want an open layout, do you need a garage, a fenced yard etc.? Let’s call this your wish list. Now separate that wish list into the components you want, the components you actually need, and anything you would consider as a deal-breaker. Share this list with your Realtor, so they have a clear understanding of what you’re looking for (and not looking for). This will save you valuable time and ensure you get better results.
Choose the Neighborhood Wisely
Your house can be altered and modified in a thousand different ways, but you have no control over the neighborhood the house is in. Take time to explore different neighborhoods, talk to the residents, eat in the restaurants, shop in the grocery store—get a real feel for the area. Don’t make the mistake of relying solely on online photos. The neighborhood may be tranquil during the day and rowdy at night or vice versa, so do some research in advance to be sure this is the place you want to call home.
Take Advantage of Physical Viewings
We can all appreciate the convenience of conducting our search for the right house online, but you absolutely have to view the house in person before making an offer. When you see houses in person, take pictures and notes so you can remember each house in detail along with their pros and cons. Pay special attention to deal-breakers like a cracked foundation or problems with mold. This will help you eliminate some your options. Pay attention to things that are not on your wish list but are an added bonus. Maybe a jacuzzi tub didn’t make your list, but the master bedroom has one, that could be a bonus for you. You should take measurements of the rooms, so you can compare them to the measurements of your furnishings. Make note of the amount of storage the home has, if there’s a sprinkler system, the age of the appliances, and the space in the garage. These are all things you can take into consideration when comparing the homes, and will be incredibly helpful in making your final decision.
Once you can narrow down your search, it will be much easier to choose the perfect home.
If you’d like to get pre-approved for a mortgage, or you need recommendations for a local Realtor, please reach out—I’d be happy to help.