3 Quick Hunting Tips for Home Buyers

A quick search on realtor.com will bring up thousands of homes for sale.  Educating yourself on your local market and working with an experienced Realtor can help you narrow your priorities and make an informed decision about which home to choose.

Start With Your Budget

Before you begin your house search you should have a preapproval letter in hand from a lender and an idea of your comfort level with a prospective house payment. You and your Realtor can begin to search for homes for sale that fit your budget, but keep in mind that you don’t necessarily want to spend up to the maximum amount you can borrow. On the other hand, you can consider going slightly above your preferred price range as long as the monthly payment is still affordable or if you have extra cash to make a bigger down payment.

Find the Right Neighborhood

After you’ve established your price range you’ll need to narrow your search by neighborhood. You should be looking at neighborhoods that allow an acceptable commute to work. Think about the type of setting in which you want to live – urban, suburban or rural. Do you want a community with lots of outdoor recreational amenities; one with shops, restaurants and nightlife; or one with plenty of activities for children and good schools?

Many homes, whether they are single-family residences, townhomes or villas, are part of a homeowner association (HOA). Part of your search process should be to consider whether you want to live in an HOA or not. On the positive side, HOA rules help protect home values and the dues often include community amenities and maintenance. On the other hand, the rules also limit what you can do with the exterior of your home. You’ll also need to include HOA dues as part of your housing budget.

Condominiums and cooperative homes also have association dues and offer a different type of ownership, with the association owning the exterior of the property while you own the interior. These dues will be part of your housing budget, but they typically include some of your homeowner’s insurance and other costs, as well as pay for amenities such as a swimming pool or a fitness center.

It’s a good idea to visit communities at various times of day and night, and on weekends and weekdays, to get a feel for who lives there and what the activity level is like.

Two important elements of a neighborhood influence how well the homes in that community will hold onto their value: crime and schools. While Fair Housing laws prevent a Realtor from telling clients about crime statistics or talking about ‘good’ or ‘bad’ schools, a Realtor can direct you to websites that provide information about those topics. Even if you don’t have children and don’t plan to have them, buying a home in a well-regarded school district can help the property’s long-term value.

Start Searching

Most buyers start searching for a home online on websites such as realtor.com, but you can also ask a Realtor to help you find homes for sale. You can request email alerts that notify you when a home that fits your list of priorities comes on the market.

You can evaluate a home first by looking at photos and a description online. In many cases, homes’ online listings have virtual tours or videos that offer the opportunity to see more.

The next step in your house hunt is narrowing down your priorities to find the home that meets your needs.


44 responses to “3 Quick Hunting Tips for Home Buyers”

  1. Shaylee Packer Avatar

    As you mentioned, finding the right neighborhood for you is an important thing to consider when house hunting. We are looking to move to an area where there are lots of kids close by for our kids to play with. We currently don’t have any neighborhood kids. We also want a single family home, as we don’t want to worry about bothering the people on the other side of the wall.

  2. Ellie Davis Avatar

    I never knew that the best way to start your home hunting process is to plan your budget properly. My husband and I are thinking about living together, and we are looking for advice to find the right home. I will let him know about your recommendations to make sure we plan our house hunting properly.

  3. Margaret J. Garcia Avatar

    The second points strike me. Find the Right Neighborhood. This is very important. But we never think of it until we move and start facing issues with the neighbors. A good neighbor is always a blessing.

    Thank you very much for pointing this.

  4. Sabrina Addams Avatar

    It’s interesting to read that many single-family homes and similar residences are a part of HOAs, which can help protect your home and provide amenities. My younger sister is currently looking for a home for her and her two kids because she got a job in a new town. I will let her know that single-family homes often are a part of an association, which often come with perks like maintenance and such.

  5. Greta James Avatar

    I like that you point out to decide whether or not you would like to live in an HOA as many neighborhoods are and they have their costs and benefits. My sister is thinking of moving to be closer to my mother to help take care of her as she gets older. She really needs to find a place that is good for her kids as they are still young and need a good school and neighborhood. There are so many variables in one house I wonder if talking to local real estate agents would be helpful.

  6. Shaylee Packer Avatar

    Thanks for bringing up that you need to figure out what kind of neighborhood you want to live in. Do you want one with lots of places to shop close by and a busy night life, or do you want one with plenty of activities for the kids and great schools? Now that I have a family, it is important for my kids to have a place to play outside. I will want to keep that in mind as I look into finding a new home for us.

  7. Henry Killingsworth Avatar

    You made an interesting point when you talked about how it isn’t necessary to find a home that reaches the total amount that you are able to borrow. My wife is graduating from school soon, and we would like to purchase our first house as a way of celebrating. These tips you shared will be very helpful when we start our search for the right place to live in.

  8. Megan Adler Avatar

    You make a good point when you say that you should set a price range so you don’t spend the maximum amount you can borrow. I’m getting married in 2 months and my fiancee and I want to start house hunting. The realtor we work with has to understand we have a budget and we don’t want to go over that amount because we want to have some money left to decorate the house.

    1. Craig Grant Avatar
      Craig Grant

      that is a great point, if you overextend yourself on the purchase, you might not have much left to make any kind of improvements or purchases you might want to make

  9. Darrien Hansen Avatar

    I like that you mentioned how purchasing a house that is below your budget is worth considering. My wife and I have been saving up money for a 3 bedroom house so that we can start a family, but we have recently decided that we are going to wait a while before having children. Maybe it would be best to find a house that is smaller and more affordable than the type of house that we have been planning to buy.

    1. Craig Grant Avatar
      Craig Grant

      Excellent point and that is a good way to think going into things.

  10. Randy Chorvack Avatar

    It’s awesome that your realtor can search for homes that fit within your budget if you ask them to. That’ll save you a lot of worry about trying to afford an expensive house. I’ll make sure to do some calculations and figure out my budget before I do anything else.

  11. Ellie Davis Avatar

    It’s interesting to know that before you begin your house search you should have a preapproval letter in hand. My brother is thinking about buying his first house, and we are looking for advice. I will let him know that he needs to be preapproved by a lender before even start his house search.

  12. Michael Richard Avatar

    I would sincerely express my thanks to the writer for bringing something to the online world which is completely new.

  13. bestpaintballgunss Avatar

    wonderful tips i really like it

  14. Jane Burt Avatar

    Thank you for explaining that before you start house hunting, you should make sure that you know your exact budget so you can find a home that will fit in your budget. We are needing to find a new home soon and we are unsure of our exact budget. We will make sure to find that out before we start house hunting.

  15. Skylar Williams Avatar

    I like your tip to think about the neighborhood that you might live in when you are buying a home. I have been thinking of moving into a single-family home with my wife. I will make sure to keep this tip in mind during the buying process.

  16. Derek McDoogle Avatar

    One of my sisters just got married and now she and her husband are planning to buy a house. I like how you said that after you’ve established your price range you’ll need to narrow your search by neighborhood. This article will help them find the right house for them after they read it.

  17. Joquim Avatar

    Hi Craig, Interesting tips man, could not agree with more! Nothing teaches you more than doing a thing for the first time & from experience I would always suggest one important thing & that is one should have enough money to pay for the down-payment & a good debt to earning ratio to pay for the monthly instalments, that is the first and most important step while investing in a home.

  18. Priyanka Patel Avatar

    Hello Craig, I just married to one I love and we are planning to buy a new home for ourselves. Since it is our first time we are pretty much confused about the things to look for before buying a home. I am glad I came across your informative article on the tips to following before hunting a new home. It was a great help and thanks for sharing knowledge and amazing tips!!

    1. Craig Grant Avatar
      Craig Grant

      Glad you enjoyed it and hope this helps you find the right home

  19. Sandra Patterson Avatar

    You make a great point that you should consider the commute to work when deciding on a neighborhood to live in. My husband and I are looking for a new home no what we are both moved out of college. I will be sure to forward this article to him so that we can have a guide for when we start house hunting.

    1. Craig Grant Avatar
      Craig Grant

      Great, glad the article helped you!

  20. Steele Honda Avatar

    Thanks for pointing out that before you begin your house search you should have a preapproval letter in hand from a lender and an idea of your comfort level with a prospective house payment. My husband and I are thinking about buying a house and I think it would be smart for us to get our budget first so that we can also narrow down our home search. I also think it might be smart to get a real estate agent that can help us so that we can know where to start looking and what else we should be looking for.

  21. Adrian Jones Avatar

    I like how you mentioned that starting a house search that’s within your budget is a good idea so that you can be sure that you’re looking for a place you want to buy within your reasonable budget. Another thing to consider is that you should be able to find the right neighborhood where you would want to live in so that you’re sure that the place is safe, secure and has friendly people that you can get along with. If I had the choice of working as a real estate agent I would always listen to my client’s requests and then make suggestions based on what they’re looking for.

  22. Rae Dolan / Realtor Avatar

    I’ve found the budget aspect to be really important. Most buyers expect down payment costs and closing costs, but I’ve found that escrow costs are typically a shock to them.

  23. Raymond Cooper Avatar

    I’m thinking about getting into my first house next year. I like how you point out that the first thing I ought to do is pick a budget to stick with. I’ll make sure I do this since I don’t want to end up being home broke by buying a home that is more expensive than I can afford.

  24. Hector Uba Avatar

    Thanks for the tips on ways you can make your home hunting experience a better one. Finding a good neighborhood really is one of the first things you should do because you have to live in that area with those people. I would imagine that your neighbors can really make or break the decision to buy a home.

    1. Craig Grant Avatar
      Craig Grant

      Hi Hector,
      Glad to hear you found this helpful and thanks for your input!

  25. Arya Smith Avatar

    My favorite part of this article is when you talked about visiting the neighborhood at different times of the day to have an idea about the area. I will definitely do this because I am quite fussy when it comes to my neighbors. I want to have quiet nights and friendly neighbors without the gossip because I am tired of those kinds of people.

    1. Craig Grant Avatar
      Craig Grant

      Hi Arya,
      Glad to hear you found this helpful and thanks for your input!

  26. Aleshire Mueller Avatar

    I really liked your advice on taking a look at the potential neighborhood to see the lifestyle of the neighbors as well as whether or not it provides an acceptable commute to work. I like the latter better because I do not own a car, and I usually commute to work. It would really be nice if I can get a house that is near the main road or the train stations so life will be easier for me. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Craig Grant Avatar
      Craig Grant

      Hi Aleshire,
      Glad to hear you found this helpful and thanks for your input!

  27. Max Sayer Avatar

    I have recently been thinking about getting a new home and I wanted to look up a few tips about it. I really appreciated the tip about finding the right neighbourhood. Looking for a neighbourhood that allows an acceptable commute to work is really important to me.

    1. Craig Grant Avatar
      Craig Grant

      Hey Max,
      Glad to hear you found this helpful and thanks for your input!

  28. Ashley Turns Avatar

    My husband and I are wondering how to go about buying our first home. So thanks for suggesting that we figure out what neighborhoods will give us a good commute and are the type of setting we would want to live in. We will be sure to start our search for a home by first figuring out what neighborhoods would be best for us.

    1. Craig Grant Avatar
      Craig Grant

      Hi Ashley,
      Glad to hear you found this helpful and thanks for your input!

    2. Taylor Anderson Avatar

      Ashley, I was actually thinking of buying a house with my boyfriend the other day. Another tip I’ve heard for house hunting is to get preapproved before and make a budget. In the budget, it’s also important to work insurance in. Good luck to you on house hunting!

  29. Anthony Maldonado Avatar

    It’s amazing to visit this site and reading the views of all friends about this post, while I am also zealous of getting experience.

  30. Jane Ambrose Avatar

    My best friend is thinking about moving her family to a new location, but she isn’t sure how to go about looking for a house in the market right now. I hadn’t thought about narrowing down her search by neighborhood, but it seems like knowing the HOA and the rules of the area would be a great indicator of whether or not an area is right for you. It seems to me like knowing a lot about an area before looking for houses in it can save you a lot of time. I’ll be sure to give this advice to my friend.

  31. Afton Jackson Avatar

    Soon, my sister will be in the market for a home. This will be her first real estate transaction, so she’s looking for tips to ensure she gets into the right place. I never knew how important it is to find a neighborhood that is near outdoor amenities to ensure your children stay entertained. I’ll pass this info along to my sister today.

  32. Afton Jackson Avatar

    I didn’t realize that you can request email alerts from your Realtor that fit your criteria when they come on the market. My sister will be in the market for her first home soon. Hopefully, she can use these tips to be kept in the loop when searching.

  33. Tomas Killington Avatar

    My sister is currently in the market for a house. She has looked at several homes that are for sale, but she’s unsure which to choose. I didn’t realize how important it is to find a home with a good HOA to ensure you have the amenities and maintenance you desire. I’ll be sure to share this info with my sister.

  34. jresquival Avatar

    That’s a good tip to find the right neighborhood. Buying a home that’s far away from your work can really cost you in the long run with commute times. If I were buying a home I’d look for one that was nearby the grocery store and my work.

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