6 Ways to Search for Your First Home Like a Pro

6 Ways to Search for Your First Home Like a Pro

  • Elisabeth Hay
  • 10/1/22

Looking for your first house is an exciting prospect. The time is finally here, and what you have worked and saved so long for is just around the corner. But before buying your dream house, you need to find it.
A lot goes into purchasing a property, from getting pre-approved for a loan to negotiating a closing, but the actual search process requires patience. Below, we’ll detail six ways to search for your first home, allowing you to explore a variety of options.

Make a plan

All the searching in the world will not make a difference if you feel unsure about what you want. Come up with a list of features that are important to you in a home: location, amenities, the amount of bedrooms and bathrooms. If you have children or plan to, you’ll want to research the local school district or private schools in the area, making sure it seems like a good fit.
You may also want to consider the driving or walking distance to local conveniences, like grocery stores, restaurants, and gas stations. It’s important to consider how your daily routine or commute will work after you’ve moved into your new home.

Searching online

In today’s technology-driven world, 90% of homebuyers look for new homes for sale online, as stated by the National Association of Realtors. There are some definite benefits to this method. Online, all the information you could need can be yours with a few clicks of a button. You can even use filters to search by various factors, narrowing down the search quickly. The speed and ease of this process make it a popular way to find a perfect home.
However, it is important to ensure you have selected a reliable and informative site to conduct your search. Some real estate websites do not feature realistic pricing. They will under or overestimate the property’s value or pricing to show what the seller would like their price to be but is not realistic. Websites for home searches should source their information from a Multiple Listing Service (MLS), and the information should be current, accurate, and up to date. A knowledgeable real estate agent like Elisabeth Hay can help ensure you have access to the most current information regarding homes in your area.

Home search apps

Many first-time homebuyers download an app that helps users search for properties. In today’s tech-savvy age, having a home search tool at your fingertips is invaluable! Real estate apps can help you find an agent, search for homes within your criteria, and search for the value of a house all in one place.
This easy-to-use method combines databases, technology, and real estate knowledge to give you the widest search range possible. Many apps even allow searching by location while also filtering by specific information in your criteria, such as bedrooms, price, square footage, and more. Some apps can even guide users through calculating the mortgage payment and signing the closing documentation. A real estate app can cut back on your time spent searching.

The old-fashioned way

While technology is something we’ve come to depend on, there are certainly other ways to search for a house. If you have a home location in mind, or even a particular neighborhood, take a drive around looking for “for sale” signs. While this method does not immediately account for your criteria, other than location, it can still pay off. “For Sale” signs will usually include contact information for a real estate agent who can give you further information, and the signs might even notify you of an upcoming open house.
Another option is to look through the local newspapers. Many newspapers will have a page or two of houses for sale in the area with a short description of the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, the square footage, and the price. These can give you some ideas of where to continue your search.

Reach out to a real estate agent

One of the best resources any homebuyer, and especially a first-time homebuyer, have is their real estate agent. Having an experienced Austin real estate agent like Elisabeth Hay in your corner can make all the difference in the world. Once you give the agent your list of criteria, they may know of a neighborhood or house to fit your needs perfectly. Your agent will understand the surrounding area and market better than anyone, and they have connections that help them find homes before they are made public.
Sometimes, houses are sold before they are listed on an app or online, but a local realtor might have a heads-up about a property that’s about to come on the market. Knowing what you need and want, agents can also visit houses for you, letting you know when they have found something which might work for you and cutting down on the time you spend touring places. Agents assist buyers in many ways, especially in the search process and with the paperwork once you’ve made an offer.

Attending open houses

Always visit a house in person when you are seriously considering buying before putting an offer on it. Pictures online are taken strategically to highlight a house's best features and to downplay its issues. Visiting in person gives you a better and more accurate idea of the space, proportions, details, and potential problems. Never judge a house solely by its pictures.
Visiting the neighborhood is a good idea as well. Does it look like it would be a good, comfortable place to live? Is it too noisy for you? Is there a train track or highway nearby? How close are the necessary amenities? If possible, drive through the neighborhood at different times: during the morning commute, on a weekend, and in the evening or night. Making sure a neighborhood matches your lifestyle and wants is an important part of the home search.

Contact the experts

As the leader of the Elisabeth Hay Group, Austin Realtor Elisabeth Hay brings professional service and superior skill to every transaction. With a high-knowledge, stress-free approach and a team of well-equipped professionals with a variety of specialties by her side, she expertly navigates the complicated Texas market and provides her clients with a positive experience.
If you are searching for your first home in Austin, a great place to settle is Dripping Springs. A peaceful oasis with beautiful scenery, houses for sale in Dripping Springs benefit from thriving downtown life and proximity to Austin, not to mention lovely real estate in a tranquil neighborhood. To learn more and get started, reach out to Elisabeth Hay today.

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