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House Hunting Tips & Tricks


Ahhh, house hunting.  While I'm no expert -- this is our first house, after all -- we learned quite a few tricks of the trade over our three month search.  We had a really positive experience but what a difference there was in our first time out looking compared to our last.  If we had known what we do now, I think we could have found our house much quicker.  For anyone that is just starting the process, here are a few things to keep in mind that will hopefully speed up the process for you!

Get Pre-Approved
Before you do ANY sort of searching, contact the bank and find out exactly how much of a loan you are pre-approved for. Now, you don't *have* to spend that much.  Review your finances and decide what you feel comfortable spending.  If you have a partner, do this together so you're on the same page.  Don't forget to keep in mind additional costs such as down payments and closing costs. 

Find a Reputable Realtor
Going off a recommendation is always best.  The easiest way is to use friends or family that have purchased a house in the last couple of years.  Otherwise -- if you're searching out of town like we were -- consult Google!  I would suggest asking a few preview questions to make sure you "click" with the realtor before you go out hunting.  We knew we wanted someone close to our age that was laid back and we didn't settle until we found a realtor that fit our needs.

Know What You Want
Neighborhoods, number of bedrooms/bathrooms, single story or two story -- have a general idea of what you're looking for before you go out searching.  It will help your realtor come up with the best options for you so you won't waste time seeing things you aren't interested in and help prevent any disagreements between you and your partner during the hunt.

Keep An Open Mind
On the other hand, keep your mind open to different possibilities.  You may have your heart set on a ranch style home (like Nick did) but end up falling in love with a certain two story house :)  

Think Long Term
Is this house going to be a starter home or your forever home?  This decision will most likely dictate what type of house you buy and what type of mortgage you want.  Nick and I knew we wanted a 5 year home so we were looking at houses that were perfect for us right now... and not worried about looking for one that will fit a family with teenagers, 20 years down the road from now.

Be Realistic
It's alright to be picky -- this is a huge purchase -- but don't be unrealistic.  Your 100% dream straight out of Pinterest home most likely isn't out there.  If you're looking for that, you're probably going to have to build it yourself.  Make a list of what's important to you/what you won't settle on and try and find the house that best fits your top priorities.  But don't plan on buying that dream home because it's not out there!

Do Your Own Searching
Don't be afraid to do the work yourself.  Yes, your realtor is working for you but at the end of the day, you're the one buying the house and it matters the most to YOU.  Get yourself right in there -- search the MLS listings, make a list of places you want to see, etc. -- don't be afraid to speak up and be assertive.  

Insist On An Inspection
Do.An.Inspection!!!!  Don't even think about buying a house without one!  Most houses will turn up with some minor issues but just ask the sellers to fix them.  Worst they can say is "no."  We asked our sellers and they didn't want to fix anything but they did give us money for closing costs instead.  However, there are some things that could turn up in an inspection that should make you just back away from a house.  Here's a great list of house hunting deal breakers.

And most importantly, have fun!  This is such an exciting time and don't get too caught up in the seriousness of it all.  I know it can be hard to see the end goal sometimes -- we did put in offers on three houses before we got *our* home -- but hang in there.  Everything will work out as it should :)

Make sure to stop by tomorrow as I'll be sharing pictures of our Chicago apartment!  Happy hump day!
Linking up with Shanna and Liz

30 comments

  1. Love these tips as we will be house hunting next year! THanks!

    XO Ellen from Ask Away
    www.askawayblog.com

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  2. great tips! i agree with all of them, especially the realtor. we used a very close family friend who was very laid back and very honest, like telling us 'no we aren't looking in that neighbourhood, its not a good area' because i didn't know. I was also very determined with some things on my list but relaxed about other things - I know what would have driven me crazy and what I can live with. Can't wait to see photos of your apartment - and your house!

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  3. Realtor.com is my #1 viewed site on my browser......just saying ;-)

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  4. This seriously couldn't come at a better time since Ryan and I are in the beginning stages of looking for a home, too. I will take all your advice to heart and carry it with me throughout the process! Hopefully our experience is as positive as yours was.

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  5. These are such great tips! Keeping an open mind is probably going to be the hardest part for me.... hopefully I won't turn us away from a fixer upper! Ha

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  6. Love this post, so helpful! We're hoping to start house hunting next spring and I can't wait, I'm already looking at MLS listings. haha

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  7. Great tips girl! When I start looking for a new house I'm definitely going to remember these!

    <3, Pamela
    sequinsandseabreezes.blogspot.com

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  8. Just pinned this for future use!! So happy that everything worked out for you guys!!

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  9. Totally agree with those tips! While I didn't buy the house I live in now, I was around when Ian was searching for one and just loved the process. Now we will both be doing it together next spring when we sell this one and find another one to renovate! Good thing I have a dream Pinterest board, eh? ;)

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  10. great tips!! when we bought our condo in chicago we started looking for "fun" and then found our dream place!! we put in an offer and it was turned down (i was devastated), they accepted another offer...we waited AND then that other buyer's loan didnt go through and we got the condo! Selling it two years later was interesting -- a good realtor is AWESOME tho and they help to keep you informed about the market and correctly price your place. i wanted to be aggressive with our list price and it paid off :) enjoy your new place!! im excited to buy a "real" home in the future!! xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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  11. This house looks just like the one from Heaven for Real! lol.

    Is it yours?

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    1. I wish! :) I found it online so it very well may be the same house, haha!

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  12. Great tips! So glad you found your house, woo hoo for moving day approaching!

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  13. I'm glad that everything worked out for you guys. We own (well Chris bought this place before I came along haha) and I have no idea if we will ever move. Chris also works in the mortgage industry too, he would be happy to hear you talking about loans haha.

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  14. These are great tips! Thanks for sharing!

    xx
    Lauren Elizabeth
    Petite in Pearls

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  15. These are all spot on! Great post girl!

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  16. Great tips! Can I have that house that's in the picture?! Gorgeous!

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  17. I don't get people that don't do an inspection. My parents didn't on their house they bought 2 years ago... I yelled at them about it... sadly, they're feeling the results of that ...

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  18. That house above is gorgeous...is that the new one? ;)

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  19. When we bought our house, we weren't even looking. So we luckily avoided the whole looking for a house process! The house across the street from the one we were renting went up for sale and we decided to look for fun. And then we fell in love! I can't believe some people don't do inspections! That is insanity.

    Nikki
    thefashionablewife.com

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  20. Great tips. I think the hardest for me will be not getting wrapped up in what I see on Pinterest!

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  21. Love your tips. These are similar things I went through when buying the house! :) It's definitely a starter house, not our forever house! :) xo

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  22. This is a great list! I'm so happy you two are finally settling in to your new home. The first two house we have bought have always been 5 year homes (although we were only in the 1st for a year). I think the pressure will be so much greater when I'm looking for a 20 year home and have to consider school districts and all that!

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  23. We can't wait to purchase our first home..! Great tips! Thanks so much for sharing..! It helps when they are tips from someone who just went through it!

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  24. House hunting can be tough at times. There are a lot of things that needs to be done first before jumping into the actual house hunting part. So having a guideline is a big help in making it less stressful somehow. And these tips are just perfect! These will help people, so that they will only buy a house or property that fits their lifestyle and budget. Thanks for sharing!

    Benny Daniel @ Finlay Brewer

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  25. Wow! These tips and tricks on looking for the right house are quite ingenious. Your post could come in handy for those who are on the hunt for their perfect house. Thanks for sharing such an informative post, Katie Elizabeth! Kudos!

    Justin Garrett @ Buzz Homes

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  26. Tips and tricks are very helpful giving a detail information for a best Home Design to make it attractive.

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