Thinking of buying a new home, second home, or investment property on the Seacoast of Maine or New Hampshire? Here are some tips and suggestions for getting started on finding your perfect home.
1. Set some goals
First things first, think about what your goals are for your new home. Are you relocating permanently, or will you be moving in a few years? Will your household size be changing anytime soon? Are you buying a second home, and if so, who will take care of your property while you're away? For investment buyers, do you have the temperament to be a landlord and take on the challenge of managing your own properties?
Before you start the home buying process, it's important to spend some time thinking not just about your current situation and goals, but about what the future might bring, too.
2. Get preapproved for a mortgage
One of the most important things you can do as a homebuyer is to start talking with lenders—yes, before you even start searching. Getting preapproved for a loan lets you know exactly how much you'll be able to qualify for... and what that monthly cost might look like. Additionally, getting preapproved will let you know that you can qualify, or if there are any red flags or potential problems in your credit or financial history that might prevent you from getting a loan.
Getting preapproved also shows sellers that you're serious and qualified—making your offer more appealing than any from an unqualified buyer.
3. Find your perfect location
Real estate is all about location, location, location! You can change just about anything in a home, but you cannot change where it is located. That being said, it's especially important to consider where you want to live. Think about what amenities you'll need—in your home, in your neighborhood, or nearby. Think about how close you want to be to area attractions, like beaches, parks, or downtown areas. Will you be commuting to work? Sending kids to school? These are all important factors to consider when choosing a place for your next home.
4. Make a list of wants, needs, and would-likes
Before you start searching homes for sale, you might want to take some time to consider the features you really need in a home... and distinguish them from the ones you strongly want or would like to have. A need is a dealbreaker, a feature that you simply cannot live without. That might be a certain number of bedrooms, a certain location or property type, or even a certain style of home. Your wants are different from needs in that though you would strongly prefer to have them, they won't necessarily make or break the sale. And lastly, those would-be-nice features are the ones you can definitely live without, but if you find a home that fits all your needs and most of your wants AND has some would-be-nice features... well, it just might be the perfect home!
5. Work with an experienced local agent
No real estate endeavor should be undertaken without the aid of a professional with experience in the area you'll be buying or selling. As a buyer, you want to enlist the help of someone who understands the market trends of your unique area, someone who knows what a well-priced home looks like, someone who can craft a competitive offer, someone who can help you negotiate for the best price and terms. An experienced agent will also be able to help with things like determining which location is right for you, finding a home inspector, navigating the closing paperwork, and more.
6. Don't skip the home inspection
Some buyers think that by foregoing the home inspection, they can make their offer more appealing to sellers. That might be true... but it might also set you up for some unpleasant maintenance surprises down the road! When you make an investment as sizable as a home, you want to make sure you know what you're getting into, from the roof to the foundation, and everything in between.
Ready to Get Started Buying on the Seacoast?
Are you thinking of buying a home on the Seacoast of Maine or New Hampshire? We're here to help! Take a look at some of our top home buying resources... or just give us a call if you've got any questions at all. We're always happy to talk!