Finding your dream home is a time-consuming process, but it’s an exciting journey despite all the time and hard work involved. In the beginning, it’s fun to look through MLS listings and stop by a few open houses, but after a few weeks of this, you’re ready to find your dream home and move in already! So how can you be more efficient when it comes to finding your dream home using MLS listings? What can you do to save yourself a bit of time and skip to the happy ending where you move in and start decorating?
If you’ve been looking for a while and you feel like you’re going from property to property but still not finding the home of your dreams, here are a few tips to help you speed up the process, and in turn, avoid the dreaded house hunt burnout almost every home-buyer has experienced before.
Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage:
First and foremost, get pre-approved for a mortgage. This will save you a ton of time because you won’t lose precious hours looking at homes you wouldn’t get approved for anyway. Plus, it’ll save you the heartache of falling in love with a home – only to find out it’s not in your price point. This way, you’ll be able to narrow down your search criteria and better focus on homes that are right for you. As an added bonus, there’s a higher chance your offer will be accepted if you have a pre-approval letter.
Make a “Must-Have” List:
One of the biggest mistakes any homebuyer can make is looking at any property that seems remotely interesting to them. Sure, it’s fun to see a range of homes, but at the end of the day, you want to find something that works for you. Write a list of non-negotiable features – from the number of bedrooms/bathrooms to the style of home and everything in between. Don’t go see any properties that don’t fit into your “must-have” list.
Pay Attention to the Neighborhood:
There are likely MLS listings in almost every neighborhood near you. Choose a neighborhood that truly meets your needs in terms of school districts, amenities, commute, and other factors. If you aren’t familiar with the neighborhood you’re looking into, don’t hesitate to spend a weekend there to explore a bit more. It’s great to have a beautiful home, but if the neighborhood doesn’t offer anything you need, you will end up regretting your choice.
Take Notes on Every Visit:
When you’re visiting multiple houses, it’s important to take notes on every visit. It’s easy to fall in love with the next one, and the next one, and so on until you forget which one you truly want. Everything starts to blur together after a multitude of showings. Remember to bring your Smartphone and snap a couple of pictures at every property. Pay special attention to the features that draw you in, whether it’s the kitchen sink or the backyard.
Make a Decision and Put It an Offer:
It’s tempting to feel like there’s going to be something better, and while it’s okay to take your time and look at quite a few properties, you’ll want to make a decision eventually. The grass is always greener on the other side, so choose the house that best suits you and your unique needs, then make an offer! This is the most exciting part of the entire process so enjoy it. Don’t get stuck in the cycle of thinking there will always be something better.
How to Use MLS Listings Properly…
Now here’s where a lot of homebuyers get a bit confused. MLS listings, also known as the Multiple Listing Service, is owned by REALTORS® – one of the most advanced real estate marketing systems available. It’s filled with the most comprehensive data available for anyone who is searching to buy or sell a home. In fact, it’s so accurate that the government, financial institutions, and others rely on its data to be sound. The MLS will have the most comprehensive list of properties out there, so it’s a great place to start your journey.
Ask your real estate agent to set you up on a private home search to get started. They will be able to enter your name, home search preferences, and other important information on MLS, then the system will send you listings that are relevant to you. Make sure you ask to receive information on price reductions and sold sales data. This can be helpful throughout your search. You can even refine your search to include specific criteria, such as:
- Number of bedrooms
- Price ranges
- Number of bathrooms
- Pools and/or spas
- Square footage
- And much more
When you take advantage of MLS listings, you’re able to save a significant amount of time, and ultimately, make your search a bit more enjoyable and less stressful.