Tips for successful house hunting

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Hunting for a new home, especially when relocating from a distant city or state, can be a stressful endeavor. Here are seven tips to make the experience a rewarding one:

  • Location counts. How far are you really willing to commute to your place of employment? How good are the local schools, shopping centers, public transportation, senior services and other public amenities? Even a picture-perfect dream home can be a mistake if it’s in an undesirable location, and a poor-location home can be a particularly bad choice if you anticipate reselling the home within a few years.
  • Make a list. Do you really know what you need and want in your home? You’ll save yourself many hours of shopping if you make a list ahead of time. Zero in on the features you must have, would like to have, definitely don’t want, and would prefer not to have. Start compiling your wish list by thinking about what you like and dislike about your current home.
  • Do your homework. Not long ago, consumers had very little access to information about recent home sales prices, market trends, homes on the market, neighborhood statistics and the home-buying process. Today, all this information and more is available on the Internet. Go surfing. Get educated. Become empowered.
  • Use a checklist. Touring multiple homes is a confusing experience for most people. Rather than relying on memory, take notes or even pictures/video of the homes you visit. Turn your priorities into a personalized home-shopping checklist and use it track the features of each home.
  • Wear comfortable clothing and shoes. House-hunting can be tiring, especially if you’re relocating to a distant community and want to see a dozen homes in one day. Plus, it can be flat-out hot in Orlando almost any time of the year.
  • Be prepared to make an offer. House-hunting can also be frustrating, especially if you know in your heart you’re not really emotionally or financially ready to buy a home. If you’re not ready, don’t put yourself through the exercise. If you are ready, go through a blank purchase contract ahead of time so you’ll know what decisions you’ll face when you make an offer.

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