5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search

5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search

In today’s housing market, low inventory dominates the conversation in many areas of the country. It can often be frustrating to be a first-time homebuyer if you aren’t prepared for the difficult home search ahead. But you’re not alone, and luckily, the real estate professionals at Lisa Duke Realty in Jacksonville are here to help. We have been providing quality realty services in Jacksonville and the surrounding areas for more than a decade now, and we have a lot of experience in buying and selling homes. So here are some tips from realtor.com’s article, “How to Find Your Dream Home—Without Losing Your Mind.” that can give you the information and confidence you need to start your home search!

  1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before You Start Your Search

One way to show you’re serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage. Even if you’re in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence of knowing whether or not your dream home is within your reach. This will help you avoid the disappointment of falling in love with a home well outside your price range, and give you a realistic path on which to find the home that will fit your budget and fill your heart.

  1. Know the Difference Between Your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Would-Like-To-Haves’

Do you really need that farmhouse sink in the kitchen to be happy with your home choice? Would a two-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Before you start your search, list all the features of a home you would like. Take the time to prioritize the features and characteristics you truly need in your home every day, versus the features that you have dreamed about or would like maybe sometime in the future. Qualify them as ‘must-haves’, ‘should-haves’, or ‘absolute-wish list’ items. This will help you stay focused on what’s most important, allowing you to maximize your spending power without jeopardizing your financial situation.

  1. Research and Choose a Neighborhood Where You Want to Live

As much as finding your dream home design is the goal, you might want to remind yourself that the location and surrounding community are just as important when deciding on a new home. Every neighborhood has a unique charm, but some have better views, some have better access to stores, and some just feel homey. Before you commit to a home based solely on the house itself, take a test-drive of the area — reenact your commute to work or to the grocery store. Make sure it meets your needs for “amenities, commute, school district, etc. and then spend a weekend exploring before you commit.”

  1. Pick a House Style You Love and Stick to It

As much as you might have incredible ideas about how your dream house might look and operate, you will eventually need to land on a style that will work the best for you and your family. So will you need to evaluate your family’s needs and settle on a style of home that will best serve those needs. Just because you’ve narrowed your search to a zip code doesn’t mean you need to tour every listing in that vicinity, and with a consistent house style to look for, you won’t have to. An example from the article says, “if you have several younger kids and don’t want your bedroom on a different level, steer clear of Cape Cod–style homes, which typically feature two or more bedrooms on the upper level and the master on the main.” So considering house styles and layouts like that will be important when considering your new home.

  1. Document Your Home Visits

After you have toured a few homes, it might be hard to remember exactly which one had the kitchen island and which one had the good view with the patio, or was that same listing? Once you start touring homes, the features of each individual home will start to blur together, so take notes of the things you like and don’t like at each listing. The article suggests keeping your camera handy, to pair your notes with pictures instead of trying to rely on your visual memory, which at this point, is getting filled up with a variety of listings. That way, you can truly compare and contrast the different homes and styles, so you can make the best choice for you and your needs, and the needs of your family.

Bottom Line

In a high-paced, competitive realty environment, any advantage you can give yourself will help you on your path to buying your dream home. These tips should help you feel more confident about the house searching process. And when you combine that with a consultation or appointment with one of the realty professionals at Lisa Duke Realty, you will be in a great position to start finding your dream home in the right style and the right price in Jacksonville or the surrounding areas. Don’t wait until you have a list of homes and a lot of stress — call Lisa Duke Realty today!


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About the Author

5 Tips for Starting Your Home Search

Lisa Duke Realty, LLC

I began buying and selling real estate in 1995 for personal investments in Jacksonville, Florida. I enjoyed the business and I obtained a real estate license in 2002 to help others buy and sell homes on a part time basis. My part time efforts quickly grew into a full time real estate consulting business. Lisa Duke Realty, LLC opened in 2012 and in the first two years, our experience and staff have grown and flourished.