The housing market has been on a major uptick recently with new homes coming onto the market every day. This is great news if you’re looking for a new home but it can also feel overwhelming and frustrating. Finding your dream home doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. Just follow our top tips for home buyers who are looking for their dream house.

Find an Agent You Trust

What neighborhood should you move to? Where should you start your bid on a home? What about the mountains of paperwork? A great agent will help you answer all of these questions and provide guidance on the whole buying process from browsing to closing. Be sure to find a real estate broker or agent who is experienced in the area you’re searching in as they’ll be able to help you find exactly what you’re looking for quickly. They’ll have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening in the area so they’ll know exactly which homes are on the market, what their histories are, and even what neighborhoods are shaping up to be like in the future. They’ll also be able to guide you through the process of placing bids, dealing with all the paperwork, and helping you tie up loose ends after closing.

Your agent is central to not only the outcome of your San Francisco home-buying experience, but also the process. The difference between a so-so agent and a great agent is having trust in their skills and their judgement.

Stay Within Your Budget

There’s a reason you don’t want to look at homes that fall well outside of your budget. You don’t want to fall in love with a house that you know you won’t be able to move into. Once you see it, you won’t be able to forget it and all of the houses you view after it just won’t compare to it. Even if you find a home within your budget that you like, you may still feel buyer’s remorse because you can’t stop thinking about that amazing house. Don’t bring on emotional stress! Only view houses with a price tag you’re comfortable with — besides, a great agent will make sure that you find the home of your dreams within your budget.

In San Francisco, because real estate can move so quickly and great opportunities can come and go quickly, it is very important that you get pre-approved for a home loan. The amount of your pre-approved loan may or may not be more than you want to spend, but it will certainly provide an upper limit to what you can spend.

Assess Your Must-Haves

Everyone wants to have it all, but your search will go much more smoothly when you figure out exactly what you must have. Maybe you absolutely need to have two bathrooms or a huge backyard. If you entertain, a spacious kitchen might be non-negotiable, but if you’re into dining out, you might sacrifice some of your kitchen’s square footage for a bigger bedroom. Find out what is an absolute must in your home to narrow your search.This way you’ll always get the features you need the most while enjoying additional bonuses like a balcony with a view or a cozy living room.

Pro tip: If the homes you’re looking at aren’t quite cutting it, consider using part of your budget for renovation or remodeling work. If the house you buy is below your budget, you can then spend more on remodeling the aspects that are most important to you. You home could even end up looking better than the ones you searched before because it’ll be tailored to you!

Make Updates that Improve Your ROI

Most houses won’t meet every single standard you have. For example, you might want to switch out the kitchen cabinets, remodel the bathroom, or add a deck. It’s great to have a vision for a house because it makes you a more flexible buyer which in turn gives you more choices. But beware of envisioning a little too much change. Everything from slight tweaks to full on remodels can add up quickly and you could find yourself paying a lot more than you originally budgeted for. Be open to houses that only need a few edits to be your perfect place but keep your list of things to change short. If you find yourself wanting to change way too many areas and there isn’t room for those updates in your budget, it’s time to return to your search.

Pro tip: Work with your realtor to determine which changes will increase your return on investment. In San Francisco, for example, adding a garage, while expensive, is almost always a win. Making upgrades you love and that will enhance resale value is a real estate win-win.

Trust Your Gut

If you know, you know! Often, it’ll be just that easy. When you find a place that you can envision yourself in you might feel it from the moment you step through the front door. One surefire sign that this is the home for you is that any of the houses that you saw before or see after pale in comparison. You may also have found the right place when you start to envision living there. Most people looking at houses like to imagine where they’ll put furniture or which family members will take what rooms. But can you see smaller details happening in that house? Can you see exactly where you would put holiday decorations or where you would drink your morning cup of coffee? If you can imagine the smaller but arguably more important details of your life fitting in perfectly in that house, trust your instincts!

Ready to find your dream home? Give Danielle Lazier + Associates a call. Whether you’re looking for urban homes in the heart of the city or a quiet, friendly neighborhood to take root, we’re ready to find you the perfect place to call home.

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