Events are being canceled, restaurants are only providing carry out, and we are at home being responsible and social distancing. We’ve finished all the best Netflix shows, Spring cleaned the entire house, and played every board game known to man, and we’re ready to do something a little more productive. Online home shopping. The question we are asked most is, “Where do I start?” and we have an answer for you. Continue reading to learn about how to start home shopping from your couch.
Make Your List of Wants and Needs
When it comes to selecting a house, everyone has differing opinions on which features and amenities are a must-have in their dream home. What about a house will be most important to you? Location? Size? Walk-in closet? Open Concept? Compile a list of what could make or break your home-buying decision and classify each amenity by want or need. If you’ll be moving in with any other party, have them create this list too, and then you can compare and prepare to compromise. Remember to be reasonable in the fact that you can’t have a beachfront property within 20 minutes of Indianapolis or a 7 bedroom home with a $50K budget.
In case you need a little assistance, we’ve created a House Hunting Checklist to help organize your thoughts on what’s important to you and what’s not. Print an extra copy for your potential roomie and compare sheets.
Let’s Talk Money
It’s no secret that buying a home is a huge, life-changing investment. Will you be taking out a loan for your home purchase? Have you been pre-approved by a mortgage lender? How much of a down payment will you need and can afford? These are all extremely important questions that need to be answered before you even begin seriously looking at homes. Mortgage loans come in all shapes and sizes and there are many financial programs that can help you with down payments. Talk to a trusted broker to learn about your options and get all the financials set up. If you’re in need of any type of financial advice or services with home loans, we highly recommend SD Capital Funding, Quicken Loans’ Top Partner since 2014.
Hop Online and Search for The One
Before you get too serious in your home buying journey, it may be a good idea to start searching for homes online to get a feel for what you like and what you don’t. Just remember not to take the price tag too seriously as they are often incorrect and try not to fall in love at first sight. So much more goes into buying a home than just making sure you like it’s aesthetic.
Additionally, browsing homes online, with the intent to buy, without anyone to guide you could waste your time. Filtering through properties, filling out contact forms, and scheduling appointments to be left waiting for a reply to view the property or even with no response and false hope can leave you feeling defeated and frustrated. But this can all be avoided! Once you have a feel for homes you prefer and you get serious about buying a home, it’s time to call in the professionals. Working with a real estate agent while online shopping can ensure you’re looking at the most up-to-date listings as they have access to exclusive listings that aren’t posted on regular real estate listing websites.
Need a Real Estate Agent?
Hopefully, you answered yes to this question! It is always important to have a professional walk you through major, life-changing decisions and the real estate process is no exception to that rule, especially as a buyer. Did you know that you don’t have to pay anything to your buyer’s agent? It’s true, the seller is in charge of the typical 6% commission that is split between the buyer’s and seller’s agents. Use this to your advantage and have them help with the heavy lifting the real estate process brings. Agents have access to the MLS (Multiple Listings Service) and can search for any property on the market and narrow your search down to whatever criteria you have on your wants and needs list.
Now that you know you need an agent by your side, how do you find one? There are many ways to connect with a real estate agent, whether it’s referrals, randomly Googling one, or contacting the real estate agent listed on the property you have your eyes on. It’s important to find an agent that’s right for you, your wants and needs, and home buying criteria. That’s where we come in. Fill out your profile on LemonBrew.com, and get matched with several highly-qualified, local real estate agents to choose from based on their video interviews, buying/selling statistics, and more. The best professional is now at your fingertips.
Ready for a Closer Look?
Although right now may not be the best time to tour several homes in person, there are plenty of online options to take advantage of. Photos are a given and almost every home on the market will have professional photography. Remember, photos can sometimes be misleading and seeking other avenues of digital representation is key. Swipe through and if you like what you see, ask if you can take a virtual tour. Virtual tours can be in the form of video walkthroughs, Matterport 3D scans, or even virtual reality. Once you’ve narrowed down your favorite virtual tours, ask your agent what your next steps are and if you’re able to view the home. Take all proper precautions, hand-washing, sanitizing, shoe covers, driving your own car, etc, when it is time to walk through in-person and continue to follow rules put in place by the CDC and your local government.
The Future of Real Estate
It’s always good to think of positive outcomes in times of uncertainty. We want to be at the forefront of the real estate revolution, which is why we continue to innovate simpler user experiences from digitally matching buyers and sellers with their perfect, local agent to closing on a home completely online. As technology continues to advance, it’s interesting to see what the future of real estate will look like. From using virtual reality to an adjustment in the roles of real estate agents, times are changing and the traditional ways of real estate are going to be affected.
The world we live in is constantly changing and if we’ve learned anything through the COVID-19 pandemic so far, it’s that we cannot take anything for granted. Thank you to all who have continued to support us and other small businesses during this time as we do everything we can to continue serving our clients. If you have any questions about your real estate journey, from mortgage rates to closing, we are here for you. Stay safe and don’t forget to download your House Hunting Checklist.