Operation New Home: Hunting down the new homestead

Ever want something you can’t have? Of course, who hasn’t? When house hunting, you often have to reconcile with yourself about the home you want and the home you can afford. This was particularly difficult for us because we were told we could buy a home $40,000 more than our mortgage broker ended up saying we could be approved for (this was due to my self-employment, when self-employed, brokers use tax returns instead of how much you are currently making from the business). That means we had spent over a month looking at homes in one budget only to discover we couldn’t afford those homes.

I found that out the night before we planned to go out house hunting – it was a huge bummer. Fortunately, we only had 2 homes on the list that were over our new budget (listed at $382k and $369k), so I just emailed our realtor to remove those. I figured no point in going to see something that we might fall in love with only to not get it because the seller wouldn’t come down that much.

Our first day house hunting was grueling. Don’t be like me when you go out house hunting. Don’t underestimate the amount of time it takes, and don’t take on too many homes to look at. When we went out, we ended up only seeing 8 of the 14 homes and it still took us 7 hours. It was a long day. We actually ended up going to the two homes over our budget because our realtor didn’t get our email and she had already driven to the most expensive house, so we figured we might as well see them. We ended the day with three homes on our list of possibles. Of course, we loved the two most expensive homes we saw (one of which was right on the golf course and had everything we wanted) but one home was well within out budget.

Here are a few things I learned:

1. Don’t waste time in homes you don’t like. If you hate the outside, or hate it a few minutes in, just leave. No point in wasting time in a house you aren’t going to get.

2. Plan about 45 minutes for each house you see. Longer if you have drives over 5-10 minutes.

3. Bring a camera and note paper. If you like a home and it’s a possibility, take notes and pictures – after seeing a bunch of homes it will be hard to keep them straight!

4. Ride with your realtor. It was so nice to be able to debrief about each home after viewing it. It made things move faster and we were able to discuss what we had seen with her after each house.

So, what did we do? Check back tomorrow to hear about the tough decision and what happened when we made an offer.

What tips do you have for those looking for a new home?

Photo Credit: Sherwood CC

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