Finding the perfect home for your family can be stressful, as you weigh all the numerous factors against price. But there are a few things you can do to demystify your search for real estate and get exactly what you want out of the process:
- Learn the Language of Real Estate
You don’t need to get into every technicality — after all, that’s what your Realtor is for — but you should familiarize yourself with the basic terms that indicate zoning, home types and loan types. The language of real estate also uses many words you may be familiar with, but that carry additional meanings in this context. When you’re browsing new home listings and something is listed as “cozy,” know that it will likely be small. Similarly, “character” or “charm” may refer to some quirky qualities. These aren’t necessarily downsides, but it’s good to be aware of these meanings.
- Be Clear About the Intended Property Use
If you intend to rent some or all of the property out, it’s important you let your agent know, since not all houses are appropriately zoned and permitted for that kind of occupancy. This can also help your agent know if you should be put into contact with real estate property management services in the area.
- Know What Your Agent Can’t Tell You
If you’re comparing homes for sale in Hampton Roads and Virginia Beach, your real estate agent cannot, by law, steer you away from one based on crime rates, ethnic makeup, school quality, etc. This may sound strange at first, but it’s actually part of the Fair Housing Act, which was created to stop segregation. There are plenty of questions you can ask, though, that will give you a much better idea of whether the neighborhood is right for you. Tell your agent about your hobbies, ask what places of worship are convenient, and check out neighborhood parks and recreation areas.
- Find Good Sources of Information
If you do want information on crime rates, schools or demographics, look to official sources. Reach out to the school district and local police. If you want census information (to find out the average age in a given neighborhood, for example, or if most of the homeowners have children), you can get public information online from the Census Bureau’s website.
Do you think these tips will help you in your search for a new home? Share other ideas in the comments.