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How to's and money-saving tips from resident homeowner and mortgage professional, Cathy West

Finding the right property

Finding the right property

When first-time buyers are starting the process of searching for the right home to bid on, they may not know exactly what they're looking for. However, experts in the real estate industry typically note that this is one of those things shoppers just "know" when the moment is right and they visit a home for the first time.

Certainly, shopping online or in person with an agent for houses that carry many of the features they're looking for – whether it's a spacious back yard, the right number of bathrooms or bedrooms, modern amenities, etc. – will help buyers whittle down the number of open houses they need to attend, but they usually won't know a home is just right for them until they visit it themselves, according to The Balance. One of the best indicators of this "something special" quality is when shoppers quickly start to envision themselves in the home and feel great about those images.

All about excitement
Indeed, when people get enthusiastic about a home, even if it's just the first one they've visited, it might be wise to consider placing a bid sooner than later, the report said. If they can see themselves repainting the various rooms to their favorite colors, arranging furniture in the living room just so, or simply feel "at home" in it, getting involved in the bidding process is vital in today's hyper-competitive market. 

However, there are more things to consider than that first feeling, especially for people who plan to stay in their homes for some time to come, according to Home Finder. For instance, if young married couples without children are planning to have kids in the near future, it might be wise to consider whether the house that feels right for two people will be big enough to comfortably fit three or more. Moreover, it's important for buyers to think about the location of the home in proximity to their offices, various attractions or supermarkets and other stores. While a 40-minute commute or 20-minute drive to the grocery store, for instance, may not sound like much now, it's vital to think about what that will feel like almost every day for years.

Even if a home meets all current needs, or potential concerns can be brushed aside initially, it might be important for shoppers to take a more holistic look at their situations, the report said.

Missteps to avoid
Meanwhile, consumers also need to make sure they don't get wowed by homes they might not be able to afford, while also being realistic about being able to find something that's going to be absolutely perfect at the exact price they're able to pay, according to Investopedia. Again, this is a competitive market for buyers – homes typically receive multiple bids – so while it's not necessarily wise to "settle" it's still vital to be pragmatic about what's going to be available.

Typically, working closely with a real estate agent will help would-be buyers come to the right decision about the homes available to them, and find a property that reasonably balances their wants with their needs.

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