The house hunt can be the most frustrating and most rewarding part of the moving process.
Trying to find a place that offers all of the warmth and familiarity of home and possesses enough space to be muti-functional and accommodate your lifestyle changes can be a challenge. Even moreso if you’re moving in with a roommate or are on a very tight budget.
I’m two for two, there.
But it can be done. Finding a place within your price range that meets the needs of you and anyone else who’ll be calling your house a home is always doable, but can take some work.
determine your needs early on
Before you even start searching through listings, it’s important that you understand exactly what you need in a place. Think about the things that would most –proximity to your work, grocery stores, ect; cleanliness of the neighborhood; sense of community among neighbors.
These things are all factors that, when overlooked, can quickly lead to buyers/renters remorse. Your needs are non-negotiable, in most cases.
determine your wants early on
Equally as important as the things you need in your new place are the things you want in your new place. These things a negotiable, but can be replaced with other perks in the right place.
Some of my wants would be hardwood floors and a back yard or deck for entertaining. Not essentials, but definitely something I envision when thinking of the next place I’ll be calling home for a few years.
Outline your budget and be honest
The money, it matters. As much as we’d all love to be living in the outlandish apartments featured in Gossip Girl, more often that not that isn’t an option.
Be brutally honest with yourself, and your realtor if you’re working with one, about how much you can spend. Consider other elements of your lifestyle that would be impacted if suddenly a large percentage of your income went to housing expenses. Be sure to factor in other household expenses like utilities, groceries and miscellaneous things.
The home of your dreams is lackluster when it causes you to live in a manor that makes you miserable.
get out and search
It’s easy to use websites and online listings to search for places but the absolute best way to find available places is to put foot to pavements and do some walking! Visit the neighborhoods that you’re most interested in and walk around looking for real estate signs. Once you find a spot that looks open, call then on sight or take down the address and number to call when you’re ready.
This gives you a chance to find places that might not be listed online and get a better feel for the area you’d be living in. If you aren’t comfortable walking around to search for places, that might be a sign that this neighborhood isn’t where you should look to nest.
use other resources as well
Yes, Craig’s List may actually turn up some decent listings during your hunt, so don’t rule that out –but be smart about it. Websites and apps like Zillow and Trulia are also great to help you find opening listings.
And your best resource? Word of mouth. Ask friends who live in areas you’re interested in or who are moving if they know of any open locations. You’d be surprised what you turn up with.
If searching on your own is proving to be too difficult, I recommend finding a realtor to help with your search. Be sure to communicate all of your wants and needs and especially your budget.