Shopping for a Home

Now that you’ve gotten yourself ready to buy a house, it is now time to find one.  Searching for a home can be a very time consuming task.  At the time of this articles publication there were 1,409 active listings in the St. Johns County Multiple Listing Service.  Many buyers jump onto real estate search sites like “Realtor.com,” “Zillow” or “Trulia” for hours a day trying to find their home.  Others rely on their real estate agent to search.  Before anyone can search you have to narrow down your criteria.  This article gives helpful advice about the process of looking for a home to buy.


Choose the Type of Home

The first thing to consider is what type of home you would like to buy.  In addition to single family homes (one home per lot), there are other forms of home ownership:

  • Single Family Homes:  A single family home is what most people think of when they are looking for a home.  It is a single home located on one lot.
  • Multifamily homes: Some buyers, particularly first-timers, start with multiple family dwellings, so they'll have rental income to help with their costs. Many mortgage plans, including VA and FHA loans, can be used for buildings with up to four units, if the buyer intends to occupy one of them.
  • Condominiums: With a condo, you own "from the plaster in" just as you would a single house. You also own a certain percentage of the "common elements" -- staircases, sidewalks, roofs and the like. Monthly charges pay your share of taxes and insurance on those elements, as well as repairs and maintenance. A homeowners association administers the development.
  • Townhomes:  Townhomes are similar to a condo but a townhome you own the property underneath your dwelling.  Instead of a condominium association you would have a homeowner’s association.  The term “townhome” is sometimes used to describe a style of condominium that is 2 stories.  You will want to do some research and be sure you know which one you are buying.


Choose a Neighborhood

When evaluating a neighborhood you should investigate local conditions. Depending on your own particular needs and tastes, some of the following factors may be more important considerations than others:

  • quality of schools
  • property values
  • traffic
  • crime rate
  • future construction
  • proximity to schools, employment, hospitals, shops, public transportation, prisons, freeways, airports, beaches, parks, stadiums and cultural activities such as museums, concerts and theaters.

This is an area you will want to research for yourself.  It is a violation of ethics and federal law for a real estate agent to steer you towards or away from a particular neighborhood or area of the city.  If you are wanting to research these items the local police department and the local school board are great places to start. 


Put Together Your Wants vs. Needs

Every potential home buyer has a list of items they are looking for that every house must absolutely have.  For example, number of bedrooms, bathrooms, fenced yard, etc.  There are also items that would be nice but are not absolutely necessary.

Team Johnson has compiled a Prioritize Your Wants and Needs checklist.  Click Here to Download.  This list will also help your agent so that they do not take you to see houses you are not interested in.

 

Now that you have a good idea of what you’re looking for, talk with you agent and start viewing houses.  TEAM JOHNSON has many tools that will help make this process fun.  Any of our team members would be more than happy to help you find your new home.


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