Our closing is set for June 8. We are so excited I can barely stand it! Everyone! Keep your fingers crossed that everything goes well. :)
Searching for the home was...well...it was a process. If you enjoy browsing, online shopping or window shopping, you would probably enjoy the home search process. If you hate those things...well, then you'll probably hate this process.
It very much reminded me of online shopping (which I consider myself an expert at). I had a budget in mind and an area we wanted to live in. Now, this was more of the preliminary search before I got an official number from the mortgage officer and found a realtor. In reality, what I did was download a few home buying apps and used their websites to search my parameters.
Some of my favorites are Trulia and Realtor.com. Both of these have excellent mobile apps and desktop versions that are easy to use. I used a basic online mortgage calculator to get an idea of my budget based on what I could afford to pay as a mortgage every month. Obviously this wasn't an exact science but it kept me within a very close range to what the mortgage company actually approved me for.
Armed with a dollar amount and a wish list, I started saving some custom searches. It was through Realtor.com's app that I ended up finding the house we are buying. I loved browsing photos of homes and seeing people's decor styles...is that sort of weirdo stalky? I found a few serious contenders and saved them, then emailed them to our realtor. We did use a realtor and he showed us a few properties that we didn't find on our search...there's some super secret realtor site that they use to pull listings. :)
My advice on the search process:
- Go virtual! Real estate websites and mobile apps are a great way to make these types of properties accessible to everyone.
- Dedicate search time. Don't just peruse when you have time. Make the time for it or you'll easily get overwhelmed when you only have 5 minutes.
- Sign up for "alerts" when new properties come on the market or when one you've favorited drops the price or changes status.
- Get a realtor. Even though you can do some of the legwork yourself, ultimately, it helps to have another set of eyes on a property and they can find you properties you may not be able to find yourself.
- Figure out a basic house budget (even a preliminary one) before you start looking. This will help manage your expectations on what you can and can't afford.
Get out there and start searching! Good luck!