It’s Home Buying Season: Angie’s List 5 Tips for Closing the Deal on Your Dream Home

Buying a home is one of the biggest and scariest decisions most consumers will ever face. Between the financial commitment and the fear of buying a money pit, it’s easy to psyche yourself right back to the rental market (or your parents’ basement.) Angie’s List has some advice to anyone on the prowl for a new locale.

  1. First things first: Most home buyers put the cart before the horse and start shopping before they actually know what they can afford. Do yourself a favor and get pre-approved financing so you don’t find a dream house that turns out to be out of your financial reach.
  2. Hire smart: Your real estate agent should be available, happy to explain the process to you and eager to find great prospects for you. If you know the neighborhood you want to be in, try to find an agent who specializes in that area. He or she will be the first ones to know when new listings are available and can give you more insights than anyone else. Once  you find the house that could be the home of your dreams, find a highly rated home inspector to help you take off those rose-colored glasses and see the real structure. Go along on the inspection to learn and help make a smart decision about whether to make an offer and/or whether to ask for some fixes first.
  3. Know what you want: It’s OK if you don’t want to put a lot of work into a house that’s new to you. It’s OK if you do. It’s not OK if you get a fixer-upper when that’s not what you wanted.
  4. Don’t limit yourself: See as many prospective homes as you can. Why? Because you don’t know what your options are unless you know what all is out there. So channel Goldilocks, plan for a long hunt including online and on-the-ground shopping and don’t stop until it’s just right:
    • It makes you happy;
    • You can afford it;
    • It offers the level of fixing-up you want;
    • It’s in or at least very near the location you want.
  5. Closing time: It will likely take at least 30 days to close on your dream house from the time you make your first offer. Be prepared, be patient and be flexible.

Searching for a home should be a fun experience and home improvement shouldn’t be a nightmare either. If you need help finding a real estate agent, a home inspector or a home improvement expert, remember that Angie’s List is now free to join. Check out reviews to find a great service pro.