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Making the most of a house-hunting trip

Checklists For House Hunting

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For some people, looking at open houses is a fun, leisure-time activity. Checking out what is available can be an entertaining way to spend an afternoon.
However, when you are relocating to a new city, a much more business-like approach is appropriate. You may have to complete your research and come to a decision in the space of one or two weekends. The secret to a successful house-hunting trip is to be as informed and organized as possible before you go.
  1. Make a list of the critical requirements for your new neighborhood. These include:
    • commuting time to your employer.
    • school requirements
    • community demographics (age, education, lifestyle)
    • population density (urban, suburban, or rural)
    • community institutions that are important to you (being close to entertainment, places of worship, or other amenities)
  2. Obtain a map of your new city, and try to become as familiar with it as you can.
  3. Get an idea of which neighborhoods are likely to meet your requirements -- use our School Reports information. Try to talk with other employees who already live in your new city to gain their perspective.
  4. Determine a price range to look for a home in your new city. By using our City Reports, you can see how much of an increase or decrease to expect in home prices compared to where you live now. It is important to arrive on your house-hunting trip with a realistic expectation of what you will need to spend in order to afford a home in a neighborhood that meets your requirements.
  5. Interview Realtors® by phone before you make your trip. Decide on a realtor and work with that realtor to plan your trip.
  6. Make sure that the realtor understands your neighborhood requirements and your price range, and that the realtor believes that your price range is realistic.
  7. Tell your realtor that you only want to look at houses that are priced to sell. Some home sellers over-price their listings. You do not want to waste time or confuse yourself by looking at houses with unrealistic asking prices.
  8. When you go on your house-hunting trip, take along your map, your research notes concerning communities (schools, amenities, etc.) and a house-hunting checklist. This checklist is a list of key features of houses, so that you can take organized notes on every house that you visit. You can use the map to mark locations of houses.
With good planning and the right realtor, you can accomplish a lot on your house-hunting trip!
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