How to Find the Perfect Home Online: A Guide for DC Metro Area Residents
If you live in the DC area and are trying to find the perfect home, you can house hunt online. Finding the right home can take some time if you don’t know where to start.
After setting your budget and contacting a professional real estate agent, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.
A great place to begin your house hunt for the perfect home is by searching online. This guide can help you find the DC home of your dreams online.
Finding Your Perfect Home: Where to Begin
There are a few steps you should take before you begin your house hunt. Most importantly, you should get your finances in order and know where you stand.
Before you begin your house hunt you should focus on your savings, check your credit, and get your debt in check. These steps can help you determine your budget.
How Much Can You Afford?
By taking a look at your savings, income, and current financial obligations, you should have a pretty good idea of how much you can afford. It’s a general rule of thumb that a mortgage payment shouldn’t be more than 25% of your take-home income.
You should also asses your savings to try and put at least 20% down on your home. At a minimum, most banks will require 10% down. A down payment of 20% will help you avoid paying private mortgage insurance also known as PMI.
When setting your budget, think about your lifestyle, spending habits, and current savings. Ask yourself how much of your savings you’d like to use for your down payment and how much are you comfortable spending per month on your mortgage.
Getting Pre-Approved: How Much Will My Perfect Home Cost?
Once you have a handle on your finances and an estimated budget, a mortgage broker can help you determine how much you qualify for.
You lender will look at a number of factors before determining how much you qualify for. These factors include your credit score, your debt-to-income ratio, your net worth, as well as your down payment.
Getting a pre-approval will help you know where you stand with your bank. You’ll have a written letter that you can submit with your offer so sellers know you are a serious buyer.
This can also help your realtor know what price range to keep your house search in. Your pre-approval number will also help you narrow down your search online.
How to Find the Perfect House Online
If you’re serious about finding a home in the DC area, Northern Virginia or Maryland, you can start by searching the MLS in these areas. The MLS is a private database of homes for sale. This data is managed and compiled by real estate professionals.
Working with a real estate agent can help you make sure the date you’re seeing online is accurate. They can also contact the sellers and ask any questions.
Searching online at home can help you determine your wish list as well. If you find yourself gravitating towards one type of home over others, this might be a good sign, that’s the type of house you should have your realtor focus on.
Online Search Filters
When searching online you can filter the house search by the number of bedrooms, the square footage, and price.
Online filters will help remove houses that will just waste your time. If you aren’t interested in any fixer-uppers, for example, you can set a minimum budget so the houses that are under your price range are excluded.
If a big yard is important to you, you can set filters for outdoor space as well.
Filtering by neighborhood is probably the most important search factor. You can search for a home using the map feature online or by giving your realtor some boundaries to stick to.
Location, Location, Location
One of the hardest parts about searching for a home is narrowing down the area you want to live in. If you have too wide of a search area, it can be overwhelming. It also makes touring the homes difficult.
The Washington DC area, Maryland and Northern Virginia are all great real estate markets. These areas are best searched online in partnership with a professional real estate agent.
A professional can make sure you see houses as soon as they hit the market. They can also tour you around a neighborhood and help you narrow down your search. A neighborhood is one of the most important factors in your home search.
If you need to love by public transportation for example or if you have children in school, finding the right location is just as important as the home.
Online filters can also be set to show you houses that are within these parameters. If you want to move within a certain school district, for example, you can geo-target your home search.
Hit the Pavement
Getting out and seeing a neighborhood in person is also a good idea. If your new to an area or you haven’t actually seen it, go check it out in person.
Take walks around the residential streets and feel out the vibe. Go to a local restaurant or coffee shop and see if you can picture yourself there. If you’re a commuter, you can even test the train route or time your drive to work.
A realtor can also assist in this process and take you around to answer any questions you have.
Get Started With a Professional
A professional real estate agent can help you find your perfect home. A real estate agent as early access to properties, and they can also tailor a custom online search so you only see homes that are suited for you.
A realtor can tour neighborhoods with you and also set up house showings. Realtors are also vital to the deal-making process. Having a professional in your corner can help you find the perfect house for you and your family.
Get started here to start working with a professional real estate expert.