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

How to improve your home search

How to improve your home search

A home is often the biggest purchase you will ever make, as well as the most important one from a financial health perspective. As such, you need to ensure that you are taking an informed and intelligent approach to the search, positioning yourself at all times to be ready to make a move on a property when the time comes. 

This is especially important if you are self-employed and anticipate the desire to move on a home in the near future. A combination of seeking properties the right way and maintaining financial health can go a long way toward ensuring you meet your goals and end up living in the house you most desire. 

Focus and discipline
When it comes to the search, you will want to have a very good idea of what you are looking for and try to stick to those specifications as you sift through available properties. Homes & Land argues that the key deciding factors should start with location and branch out from there, building an understanding of what you can afford and how much you want to spend on things like property taxes. 

According to the site, writing a list of what elements of a property will either make it too unattractive or of minimum quality to purchase can help to reduce the number of houses you are deciding upon. It will always be better to look at fewer houses that fit your desires than a countless number of properties that might include several that you would never even consider purchasing. 

Once you are in a house that seems attractive, though, HGTV suggests getting incredibly critical of the various elements therein, such as through the evaluation of every minor detail like the insides of cupboards and drawers. Pay particularly close attention to issues that could cost you a pretty penny, as these could either represent deal-breakers or bargaining chips when trying to get the seller to reduce the price. 

Further, if you are using a realtor, HGTV recommends being entirely honest and open with them about the houses that they have shown to ensure that they understand your large and small demands.

Understand your financial standing
On the flip side of all this, you should have a good idea of what you can afford and how large of a mortgage you might be eligible to receive before going into the search. This way, if you are looking to move quickly on a property in a competitive area, you will have a bit of an edge on other prospective buyers. 

Speak to your financial institution to ensure that you know where you stand, how much you can afford to spend as well as what the monthly payments, total interest paid and other terms will involve for homes at various price levels. All of these pieces of information will come in handy when haggling with sellers and making a final decision on the home you like the most. 

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