Steps to Your Dream Home


  1. List the Characteristics of Your Dream House

    Some of the characteristics of your new home will be heavily influenced by the size of your family. These could include the amount of rooms. Other features will be based on the preferences of each person. This could include things like the architectural style, real wood floors, or fireplaces. There will also be other things that will fall in a grey area. Are the items on your list wants or needs?


  2. Now, Stop! What’s Your Budget?  Adjust your List 

    Once you have a list of items from step one, it is time to determine your budget. At this point, you could have a formal prequalification done by your bank or other financial institution. If you’re not ready for this, you can use online tools that help you to calculate your available budget. You might also be capable of running the numbers yourself if you’re good at calculating your income versus expenses each month. This will help you to find out if you need to adjust the wants and needs on your list. Some of these tradeoffs could include location, size, amenities, or special features. Your budget will also be affected by the type of mortgage, such as fixed rate or and adjustable rate mortgages.

  3.  Check Your Credit Score

    Your credit score will have a direct influence on the rate that you will be charged for a home loan. Since some people can hold a mortgage for as much as 30 years, this is especially important. You should get your credit report and check for any errors. Depending on your score, it might be best to postpone your purchase until you can correct major errors or improve your score.

  4. Decide on Whether to Search on Your Own or Use a Real Estate Agent.

    There are benefits to going either route. If you have previous experience in searching and purchasing a home, you might be more likely to go the process without a realtor. You will save on realtor’s commissions, but you will also spend more time looking for and scheduling visits to prospective houses. If you’re also selling your existing house, you could also be involved in posting For Sale by Owner notices and additional work. Even with experience, you might just be too busy to also do the work of a realtor. Furthermore, using a realtor gives you access to knowledge, experience, and resources like an MLS (Multiple Listing Service) that should make the home buying and/or selling process easier.

  5. Get Prequalified for a Home Loan

    Before you start your search, it’s a good idea to get prequalified by your financial institution. This allows you to verify your budget calculations and make any more adjustments before spending significant time looking for a home that may not be in your price range. This might also help to set you on the path to making adjustments to improve your credit score or finding alternative funding sources. Being prequalified makes you appear to be a more serious home searcher. Once you walk into your dream home, you might also have to move fast to make an offer and avoid losing it to another bidder.

  6.  Start Searching for Homes.

    Once you have your list, know your budget, check your credit, decide on whether or not to use a real estate broker, and even gain prequalification; you are ready to officially start searching for homes. For this step, it is best to use a variety of sources. Start online on home search sites, try your local newspaper, and check with friends and neighbors. You might even want to drive around your desired neighborhood to see if any For Sale notices are posted next to houses. Once you start visiting houses, you want to return to the neighborhood at various times throughout the day to really see how the atmosphere changes throughout the day and night. This revelation can even remove your ideal neighborhood off your dream home list.

  7. Compare Houses

    You might just walk into your dream house. This house might also fit your budget. It is also likely that you will find several homes that almost fit your dream home list and budget. In this case, you will want to compare the houses to determine which one you prefer. Prioritizing line items on your list will assist in this effort.

  8. Make an Offer

    Your realtor can assist you in making a reasonable offer on a home that you have decided to purchase. If you are making the offer on your own, you can do research online to find out comparable rates in the area. If it is a seller’s market, you might have to make your offer quickly before someone else buys the house.

  9.  Get an Inspection Report and Appraisal

    Before you finalize your offer, make sure to get an inspection report and appraisal done on the home by licensed providers. The appraisal value will affect the approval of any pending home loans. If any problems areas are noted on the inspection report, you might be able to negotiate a price that takes the necessary repairs into account.

  10. Plan the Closing

    Make sure that you have all the necessary paperwork for the closing day. If you are using a real estate agent or broker, that person should update you on all the necessary requirements and dates. You also want to follow the processing of your bank loan as there is no guarantee that a prequalification will result in an approval. You should set aside time for closing day because you will have to read through and complete a lot of paperwork before being handed the keys to your dream house.

  11.  Plan Any Renovations

    If you have a limited budget, you might find a home that almost meets your criteria. In this case, you might consider renovations to turn an almost dream house into your dream home. Your inspection report should also give you an idea of some of the other necessary repairs. You will need estimates from licensed architects and contractors for the completing the work. These estimates can also include a schedule so you can set a move-in date.

  12. Sell Your House and Make Moving Arrangements

Hopefully you are able to coordinate the sale of an existing house with the purchase of another. If you aren’t this lucky, you might have to arrange for temporary living accommodations while waiting for the closing of your current house or renovations to your new home. These steps can take several months or longer, so make sure that you have plenty of time to avoid any conflicts. You can prepare for moving in the meantime, but packing and moving can also take, days, weeks, or more. Consider hiring professional movers to help in the moving process. Once you determine your move-in date and make preparations, get ready to move right into your dream home!