Finding a home in the Philadelphia area can be a pretty comprehensive undertaking. Initially, you may think that the biggest challenge that is facing you is deciding whether you want to live in the city or in one of the surrounding towns like Cheltenham, Springfield, Abington, or Lower Merion. The reality is that the list of things that you need to consider is much more extensive than this.
It is important to make sure that you have everything figured out before you begin your home search. You will want to consider the financing involved in addition to your own wants and needs. Here is a checklist that you can use to guide you on your search for a Philadelphia area home.
1. Get Your Financial House in Order
Determine what your budget will allow and get pre-approved for a mortgage. There is no point in wasting your time searching for a home that you can't afford.
2. Housing Types
Familiarize yourself with the different types of homes in the Philadelphia area. While there are many different types of homes in this market, you won't find all types.
3. Establish Your Must Haves
Determine your minimum requirements. These are the features that you absolutely have to have in your home. This can include the number of bedrooms and bathrooms, a basement, backyard size and more.
Establish what you definitely don't want in a home. For instance, when we were buying our home, oil heat was a no-no. So, we only searched for and considered homes that didn't have oil heat.
5. Location, Location, Location
Determine where you want to live. Is it important for you to be close to schools or in a certain school district? Think about public transportation and other amenities.
6. The Mortgage Process
In my opinion, the mortgage process can be tedious and frustrating if you are unprepared. Get to know the mortgage process. You'll be providing a great deal of your personal information and signing many documents.
7. Compare Homes
Develop a way to keep track of comparable homes. Knowing the comparables will help you understand how much you can expect to pay for the home you want. You definitely don't want to pay more for a home than you should.
8. Home Inspections
Familiarize yourself with the home inspection process. The bank will require that a home inspection be conducted before you are able to close on the home. This is a necessary step in the process.
9. Remain Calm
Finding the right home won't be an overnight process. Patience is key. Do your best to keep your emotion out of it. You don't want to overpay or end up with a bad home because of a "feeling" that you have.
Searching for a home in the Philadelphia area can be challenging but fun. This area has a lot to offer. Keep these points in mind and I'm sure your search will be successful.