Summer is a great time to take a vacation. But it can also be a great time to go house hunting. In fact, if you’re planning to move out of town, then a long weekend can be a perfect time to plan your trip. Here’s how to maximize your time so that you can make the most out of your house-hunting weekend.
Get pre-approved for a mortgage
If you’re serious enough about buying a home to schedule a house-hunting trip, then don’t leave home without a mortgage pre-approval letter. Getting pre-approved for a mortgage signals to a seller that you’re serious about your offer. If you’re visiting a competitive market, then you may end up making an offer during your visit. Make sure your offer isn’t ignored because you failed to get pre-approved.
Know what you’re looking for
When you only have a day or two to look at homes, you need to make them count. Sit down and make a list of what you’re looking for in a home. This will include both your needs and your wants. Know what’s a deal-breaker and what isn’t. This will help you narrow down your choices so that you’re only looking at homes that could be serious contenders.
Create a target list
These days, it’s so easy to browse listings from the comfort of your own home. Before you leave for your trip, make a list of homes that interest you. Communicate this information to your real estate agent so they can make appointments to see them. Talk to your agent about what you’re looking for so they can also schedule appointments for you based on your criteria.
As you visit each home, take good notes. Keep a list of what you liked about the home – and what you didn’t like about it. Take photos and videos of each home so you can review them again later. It can be confusing to see many homes for sale in one day, and taking good notes will help you sort things out later.
Be wise with your time
Even if your trip is short, be sure to give yourself plenty of time to explore the homes you’re really interested in. If you happen to visit a home that you know right away isn’t for you, don’t feel obligated to spend much time there. You’re better off heading to the next home that may be a better fit. It’s also helpful to have a little cushion of time to revisit those homes that are high on your list. And don’t forget to schedule time to check out the neighborhood. You may discover that you love the home but that the neighborhood itself isn’t the best fit.
Work with the right agent
When you’re trying to buy a home from out of town, it’s essential to work with an agent who is an expert in the community you’re moving to. Take time to interview prospective agents to find the one that best suits your needs. They will be an invaluable source of information not only when you’re looking at homes, but also after you’ve closed and moved into the neighborhood.