By: Megan Bohannan
1. Do Your Homework
You may already have an idea of whether you would like to live uptown, downtown, or out in the country, but keep in mind that neighborhoods can vary greatly, even in the same area. Try checking out the neighborhood's walkability score and browse review sites like Yelp to give yourself a better idea of what the area has to offer. Spending a weekend driving or walking around is also a great way to give yourself more insight into the place you might call home one day.
2. Know Your Finances
It helps to get pre-approved for a loan before you start looking for homes. Ensuring that your finances are in order will make things go much more smoothly. Check your credit report and credit score to see where you're standing. Collect proof of income in the form of W2s and paystubs. Then finally, count the funds that you have available for a down payment and closing costs.
3. See Past The Flaws
Unless you are exceptionally lucky, the homes you view probably won't include every single item on your wish list. In fact, it's more likely that the house might have a few features you don't like. The key is being able to look past some of the more unpleasant exterior elements. Linoleum tiles, the color of paint, or those kitchen cabinets that need refurbishing are all items you can eventually change to better suit your style.
4. Plan For The Future
When you're ready to look for your dream home, don't just take into account what's best for you right now, also consider what would be best for you in the future. If you want to have children one day, you're going to need an extra bedroom or two. Think you could start working remotely? You may want to have a home office. The perfect home will need to be able to grow along with you as your life changes.