ReSET Blog
Blog · March 09, 2022 · AUTHOR: Alan Perez

Preparing For Your Home Search

It's been said repeatedly, but the truth is that a little bit of planning can go a long way, especially when deciding to enter the real estate market. If you have been searching and looking for general information or have even started looking for properties but haven't contacted an agent yet, you're not alone.

It is common to spend some weeks in the "informative phase," taking in information by getting familiar with the whole process that comes with buying or selling a home. But, you need to move from the informative phase into the active phase to succeed in your home search.

In this article, we’ll outline everything you need to do before starting to search actively for a home, as well as key things to keep in mind while browsing properties, putting in offers, and more. By taking the time to prepare yourself fully for the home buying process, you’ll be well on your way to a smooth and successful home-buying experience. Once you've looked over your finances, it's time to begin the fun part of your home search!

Preparing For Your Home Search Strategies


Consider these strategies to guide yourself along in the real estate process:

1) Create a personalized checklist


The best way to get set on the right track for your search is by generating a step-by-step checklist of milestones you'll cross on your journey. Fill in your basic checklist by asking yourself questions like "what do I know I need to do before I am ready to make an offer?" as well as "what am I uncertain about in the real estate process?" 

When you ask yourself questions like this, you don't need to have the answers for the entire process planned out. Just start by making a checklist of what you need to do to move from "just-looking" to taking action. Additionally, this helps solidify your timeline, whether you're looking to buy or sell your home.


2) Set your specifications early


It can be difficult to transition into searching actively because the number of properties you can search through can be overwhelming. If you've been looking for homes online, you've probably come across MLS listings and other real estate portals. Clicking through pages of properties is the easy part - finding the one that's perfect for you can be more difficult.

When searching for a property, narrow your options by thinking about what you need. Are you looking for a single-family home, duplex, condo, townhome, or land? Specify what you're looking for further by considering the number of bedrooms or square footage you’re interested in. Searching for a property can be time-consuming, but being specific will save you time in the long run. Make sure to disqualify certain home styles or unnecessary features so you don't have to change your search criteria later.

3) Establish your target area


Location, location, location! Thinking about your preferred location and your geographical needs will allow you to hone in on neighborhoods and communities you should explore further. Think about proximity to work and family, community amenities, and the local school district. It will help you narrow your search since these can directly impact your day-to-day life and quality of living.

4) Talk to the right agent(s)!

By following the advice above, you'll have a clearer picture of the right property and locale for you, as well as the steps you know you'll need to complete before you can start submitting offers. You should know, no matter how much progress you’ve made on your own, It is always the perfect time to speak with real estate agents because they can shed light on different opportunities and programs you may not be familiar with.

Your agent may also be able to help you finish out whatever remaining steps you need to be completely ready to move forward. For this step, look for an agent who actively listens to your needs and is open to working with you at your preferred pace. You don't have to work with an agent just because you have spoken with them - so talk to as many agents as you feel comfortable with until you find the right one. SetValue can connect you with the best real estate experts in your local area - find out more here!

What to Know Before Buying a Home


To make a well-informed decision about buying a home, you need to be comfortable with the process. You'll want to know about financing, inspections, and other aspects of the process.

Here are some things you need to know before buying your first home.


You'll want to research different loan programs available for homes and understand how they work. Then, you'll want to investigate what interest rates are currently being offered in the market. Find the right mortgage broker, and they can take care of a lot of the legwork for you. 


An inspection is just as important as the offer itself because it will reveal any problems with the property that might affect your decision to buy it.

Closing Costs:

Buying a home can cost tens of thousands of dollars in closing costs. So make sure you're aware of all costs involved before making an offer on a property.


When looking for a house, don't just focus on the exterior or physical aspects. Make sure to consider traffic patterns and schools near where you live if it's applicable for your family.


If you're planning on moving anytime soon, then it may not be the best time to buy a house. There are restrictions on selling within a five-year timeframe.

1) Financing for Your Home

If you're like most people, a mortgage lender will be the person who helps you finance your home. Lenders can be traditional banks, but there are many different programs and companies that offer these services as well. Regardless of who the lender is, you must research them to ensure they are reputable and trustworthy.

When shopping for a mortgage lender, there are a few things to keep in mind:


  • How long have they been in business?
  • What is their approval rate?
  • What are their fees?
  • Does the interest rate change over time?
  • Is there an origination fee?

Some lenders may charge fees for administrative activities, such as processing paperwork or providing guarantees. The origination fee is typically one percent of the loan amount. It's important to be aware of the cost of this type of loan before you apply, as you will likely roll it into the total amount you borrow, meaning the monthly repayments will be higher.

2) Vet the Home's Location and Surroundings

The first step to buying a home is deciding which type of property you're looking for. Are you searching for a starter home? A vacation getaway retreat? A long-term investment property? Knowing what type of property you need will help you determine how much square footage, amenities, and location matter to you.

Next, research the area around the property. Take a drive through the neighborhood and find out how safe it feels, if there are any schools in the area, and what types of stores or restaurants are nearby. These factors should affect your decision greatly. If the location doesn't feel right to you, don't be afraid to walk away from that deal!

Once you've done your research into the area surrounding the house, take time to drive around your favorite neighborhoods as well as different cities in your state (if applicable). It will give you a good idea of other available choices and whether they suit your needs better than a home in the original neighborhood you were considering.

3) Inspections, Surveys, and Reports


One thing that cannot be overlooked when buying a home is inspection. It's important to know what you're getting into with a property before making an offer, and there's no better way to do that than with a comprehensive home inspection. A professional inspector will be able to identify any potential issues or safety concerns before you commit. Make sure the inspector checks for structural integrity, plumbing, electrical wiring, insulation, pest control, and more.


In addition to inspections, surveys are another important aspect of home buying. These documents outline all the property's boundaries and any encroachments on your land.

It's important to know where your home's boundaries are once you've purchased it, as you don't want any disputes with your neighbors. In addition, surveys can help determine the location of utilities like sewer, water, and gas lines. This information is necessary for planning purposes.


Lastly, You should also look at reports before purchasing a home. Reports typically discuss zoning regulations and future building permits available in the neighborhood. These reports may also provide information about how far away from schools and railroad tracks are from your home’s location. 

4) Negotiating and Protecting Your Investment

Before you put in an offer on a home, be sure to understand the terms of the contract. You must protect your investment and know what the seller expects from you. After you’ve had an inspector look into the property, you should take the findings of that inspection into account, and see if you may want to adjust your offer.

A good inspection can help uncover any problems with the home, like cracks in the foundation or mold. It will allow you to negotiate for these issues to be fixed before buying the home, or having these be taken into account in your offer price.

Make A Checklist For Home Buying


The home buying checklist is a comprehensive list of everything you need to do before submitting an offer on a property. It includes:

  • Researching the neighborhood and local area.
  • Checking for zoning restrictions.
  • Checking for school zones.
  • Ensuring there are nearby stores and services.
  • Evaluating the condition of the roof, exterior, basement, and more!
  • Checking for code compliance (i.e., insulation levels).
  • Find out about any past flooding damage or mold issues.
  • Looking into whether or not a home has radon gas problems.
  • Researching the local crime rates in the area to see if it's an unsafe living environment.

Additionally, you should:


  • Check that the property is within your price range.
  • Make sure you can afford monthly mortgage payments plus taxes and other expenses associated with owning the home over time. 

Don't forget to factor in insurance, taxes, utilities, etc.! That will help ensure you don't make mistakes when house hunting that could be costly in the future.

Final Thoughts 

Looking to buy a new home soon? Utilize the tips and strategies mentioned in this guide! After you learn about what to expect when preparing for your home search and what steps you’ll need to take to make the process smooth and stress-free, you’ll be ready to jump into your search actively. Want more information on the preparation and steps you should take when looking for a property to buy? This article will shed even more light on the process!

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