HERE COMES THE FUN PART:
Now that you know how much you are Pre-Approved for, you and your Real Estate Agent can officially start HOUSE HUNTING!
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!
You can live with almost any imperfection if you love the neighbourhood and neighbours. Everything else can be changed. When you and your Realtor go House Hunting you must consider the proximity of the home to your work, the lot, access, noise, traffic, neighbours pets, access to parks, trails, shopping, schools, and public transportation.
Beyond the location you've got to look at the site of the home. Is it on a hill? What is the view like? Is there a walk-out basement? If you are elderly, does it have a lot of stairs? What's the yard like? Fully fenced? Is it suitable for kids, pets and gardening? Is the access safe in regards to the driveway elevation or steps to the front door?
Make sure the neighbourhood meets ALL of your expectations. Have you ever heard of the saying "You should own the smallest home in the nicest neighbourhood that you can afford". You will be sure to have a great view! Take a drive around the area on the weekend, during the week and daytime as well as evening.
The home should reflect your personality and lifestyle. If you are laid back, you may not want a formal Tudor style or Victorian home. Perhaps something more contemporary. Brick is easy to maintain opposed to wood siding. Is the roof in good condition? Is the landscaping well kept? Are the house numbers clear? Mailbox in good condition? Exterior lights? Front Door? Walkway?
BEDS & BATHS:
It's important to decide right away how many beds and baths you'll need, and to only look at homes that meet your criteria. An extra bedroom is always a plus... It can be used for a home office, guest room or craft room.
The kitchen is always the heart of the home. DO NOT settle on a kitchen that won't work for you. Yes, you can always remodel but it can be costly. Will an inexpensive makeover be sufficient for you? Or is it in your budget to replace the counters and cabinetry and all the appliances?
Older homes all seem to have smaller closets and less storage. If you own a lot of sports equipment, tools, craft supplies, all seasons of clothing etc... be sure there will be room to store all of those items. Newer homes tend to have more closet space and storage. You can always add storage space, however you may have to sacrifice space from another room to do so.
WINDOWS & LIGHTING:
Light, bright and open or more private and closed off? Look at homes with lots of natural light coming in. Larger windows help to let the light in. Are the windows all in good condition. If they are in need of replacing, this is another HUGE expense.
Locations of the electrical outlets and fixtures. Will they accommodate your lighting needs.
THE SUCCESSFUL HUNT FOR YOUR DREAM HOME:
If you keep all of these elements in mind while looking for your house, your hunt for the perfect home will be less stressful and more successful. You will likely end up with the home of your dreams!