A good real estate agent and a healthy market may mean you have plenty of potential home options–but have you seen so many homes that their features are starting to blur together?
If so, it’s time to get organized. A home is a big investment and the buying process can span months, so you can’t afford to lose track of any details. Keep your home search–and your sanity–on track with these easy tips to remain organized.
1. Make A List Of What You Want
You should have some basic benchmarks for homes when you start searching–square footage, price, outdoor space, etc.–so put these down on a master list that you can always check listings against. If you absolutely need two bedrooms, there is no reason to consider a one bedroom, so you can scratch it off the list.
You should also add in options that you would like but could live without. A formal dining room or walk-in closet may sound nice, but those options aren’t as necessary as what you need.
2. Know Where You Go
Prioritize options in order of their proximity to the places you visit most. How close are your home options to where you work, where you socialize, and where you shop? You’ll be making many of these trips every day and want to know exactly how much your travel will be impacted.
3. Make A Checklist
Based on these elements, make a checklist that you can take to each home you see to verify that your basic needs are met. After each visit, you can organize these checklists by properties that most serve your needs. Take photos when you visit properties that you can link to each home’s notes. If you’re searching online, set up different folders based on your checklist to organize listings accordingly.
4. Take Notes
In addition to your checklist, take notes of each visit to record how you felt about each place. This emotional connection shouldn’t be your ultimate deciding factor, but it is important to buy a house that you love–not just one that sounds right on paper. If a next door neighbor seemed especially friendly or you got the creeps when you walked through the front door, these are all important to remember when making a final decision.
5. Keep Your Paperwork Together
Have a system that organizes your mortgage pre-approval and all other documents you’ll need when it’s time to buy a home. Some of this information–like how much you’ll have to spend–will be important throughout the search while some you’ll need for the closing. The more organized you remain, the faster the closing can take place.
Prepare yourself for the buying process by speaking with mortgage lenders who can pre-qualify you for a home loan. You’ll know how much you can spend, and you’ll know that buying is really a reality. Answer a few questions here, and a home lending expert will contact you.