The first thing you should do is focus on what you're looking for in a home. You can start by establishing priorities in the following three areas:
- Location: Are you relocating to a new town because of a new job, or to be closer to your current job? How will the location of schools, shops, and transportation affect your choice of neighborhoods?
- Personal tastes: How large a home do you need? What style of architecture do you prefer? On what kind of lot? Depending on where you live, you may have a choice of homes in dozens of styles, sizes, and settings.
- Budget: How much home is wise for you to own?
For affordability, try our mortgage calculator or contact our mortgage experts.
Finally, contact one of our friendly agents to help you find neighborhoods and properties that appeal to you. The more knowledgeable you become with our experts at your side, the better your final decision is likely to be.
When you’re ready to look at a home, bring your own:
- Notebook and pen for note-taking
- Flashlight for seeing enclosed areas
- Tape measure for checking room sizes, clearance, etc.
- Camera to assist you in remembering details about the home
Be prepared to "snoop around" a little. After all, you want to know as much as possible about the home you buy. Sellers understand that because their home is on the market, it will be looked over pretty thoroughly.
If you need to go back to a home for another look, your agent will be happy to schedule an appointment. Also, be sure to ask any questions you have about the home, even if you feel you're being nosy. You have a right to know.
8 questions to ask when looking at a home
Many people buy a home to get extra space for growing families, changing lifestyles, or to more comfortably host guests. Extra space also makes homes more appealing to buyers when it comes time to sell. Here are 8 questions to ask—and answer—when looking at properties:
- Is there enough room for you now and in the near future?
- Is the home's floor plan right for your family?
- Is there enough storage space?
- Will you have to replace the appliances?
- Is the yard the size that you want?
- Are there enough bathrooms?
- How much maintenance and/or decorating will you need to do right away or later?
- Will your present furniture work in this home?
As a rule of thumb, ask any questions you have about specific rooms, features, or functions. Pay particular attention to areas that you feel could become "problem" areas—additions, defects, areas that have been repaired.
And above all, if you don't feel your question has been answered, ask until you do understand and are satisfied. In most cases, your real estate agent will be able to provide you with detailed information about each home you see.
Finding the “right” home for you
There is no set number of homes you should look at before you decide to make an offer on one. That's why providing the agent with as many details as possible up front is so helpful.
Some people prefer new homes, which generally have more space in the rooms where today's families do their living, like a family room or activity area. They're usually easier to maintain, too.
However, many homes built years ago offer more total space for the money, as well as larger yards. Taxes on some older homes may also be lower. Some people are charmed by the elegance of an older home, but shy away because they're concerned about potential maintenance costs. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage's Home Protection Plan protects you against unexpected repairs on many home systems and appliances for a full year or more after you move in.
The perfect home may be waiting for you on your first visit. Even if it isn't, the house-hunting process will help you get a feeling for the homes in the community and narrow your choices to a few homes that are worth a second look.
If you're looking in more than one community, try to make the most of each house-hunting trip. Stop by the local chamber of commerce to pick up promotional literature about the community. Or ask the agent for welcome kits, maps and information about schools, churches and recreational facilities. Also, be sure to take along a camera and snap some pictures of all the homes you like. That will make it easier to remember and reach a decision.