6 Tips when Starting to House Hunt

Last year we spent 4 months in house hunting hell!! It was an absolutely miserable experience. This was the fourth house that we have purchased in the 23 years we have been together. So it was definitely not our first rodeo but it was the most miserable one in all our house buying experience.

We ran our real estate agent ragged and we were all frustrated beyond belief. After physically viewing more than 40, yes I said more than 4-0, we finally made an offer on a house only to have it fall through at the last minute. It took another 15 or 20 house viewings before we finally found the one we purchased. I figured that it was a good time to share some things about house hunting that we have learned over the years so that maybe it will help someone who is new to the game. Of course I can say that this time was definitely a learning experience. I have to add that I am not a real estate expert and every experience has been different in one way or another.

1. Check your credit report before you even think about applying for a loan. You can obtain a free credit report from each of the reporting agencies once a year by going to Annual Credit Reports. I say this because you never know when something will show up that could throw a wrench in the works and delay or stop you from getting a mortgage loan. This will give you the opportunity to get any problems corrected ahead of time.

When we purchased our first house we ran into this issue with hubby's credit and had to spend some time getting corrections made to his credit report. You do not need to pay anyone to help fix credit errors this is something that you can do yourself. Check this site for help on how to dispute errors and get corrections made.

2. If you are a veteran I would also suggest going ahead and applying for your Certificate of Eligibility at eBenefits. That way if there is an issue with it you can get it corrected before you get started and hold everything up. We ran into this recently and while we were lucky they were able to research the problem and correct it quickly that may not always be the case. The VA showed that we had not paid off a previous loan which I fortunately had proof was paid in full.

3. Get pre-approved through whichever lender you want to use. Especially if you live in an area where the market moves quickly. With our first two purchases we did not do this but neither house was in an area that moved quickly. The last 2 purchases were made in places where houses where being sold within a day or two of being on the market. We actually lost out on a couple of houses because we didn't see them fast enough. If you have a pre-approval then you can move quickly when you find the house.

4. See if you are eligible for the Homes for Heroes program. This is a discount program for military, firefighters, EMTs, law enforcement and several others to help with the purchase of a new home. Not all real estate agents or other companies are signed up with this program so checking with them first will help you find your local agents that work with the program. We learned about this program right before we started looking for house number 4 and were able to get discounted fees with our lender and with our real estate agent as well. It ended up saving us about $2500 in closing costs.

5. Before you start working with a realtor, sit down and make a list of your must haves and decide on the area where you want to live. Also know ahead of time what you are willing to compromise on before you get started.

We ran into a problem with not finding a house with our must haves in the 10-mile radius we wanted and let the realtor talk us into looking outside of that area instead of saying no. We knew better than to let that happen and it ended up causing things to take more time and be more stressful. I finally put my foot down with our realtor and told her "this was our must have list and the only area we would look at houses" period. I'm sure when we hung up her first thoughts about me that day was not a nice one but I didn't really care by that time.

6. Don't look at more than 3 or 4 properties a day if at all possible. When you look at too many houses in a day it is tiring and frustrating for everyone trying to rush from one house to the next on a time schedule. And it can limit the time you have to walk around each one during the viewing.

We were in a time crunch with house #1, 2 and 3 because we only had a week of house hunting time available during our military transfers. I can say that with #1 and 3 I wish we had just rented something and taking more time looking for something. With #2 we only looked at maybe 4 or 5 houses when we walked into this one and knew without a doubt it was ours. House #4 we decided to rent for 6 months while we looked and still broke this rule because of the limited time hubby could be away from work.

BONUS TIP: I forgot to add this one originally. Even if you have filed bankruptcy it is still possible to purchase a home. Check with your attorney and see if there is a time frame before you can try. I believe that you may have to be at least a certain number of years into the process before the court will approve the purchase but I cannot tell you for sure. You will have to have the approval from the court if you have not reached discharge and this could take a little time so get it early.

I hope that something here will help someone who is just starting out on the journey to home ownership.


Must Read Monday: The Chase Brothers series

The Chase brothers are every girls dream. This series by Lauren Dane is about four brothers raised in Petal, Georgia by a larger than life Southern momma and quietly, strong Southern daddy. They are wanted by every woman and have been determined to remain the skirt chasing bachelors they have always enjoyed being. But when these boys finally find the right woman they fall hard, love completely and will do whatever it takes to have her.

Book 1: Giving Chase is Kyle and Maggie's story. Maggie has sworn off men after always finding the wrong guy when she runs into Shane Chase while out with her friends. Shane suffering from a past heartbreak runs when he feels that Maggie is getting too close leaving the door open for his brother Kyle. Kyle decides he will have Maggie and works hard to win her heart.

Book 2: Taking Chase is Shane and Cassie's story. Cassie is scarred from her past life and scared of every man. She ends up in Petal trying to escape from what has happened to her. Shane the giant of a man who is also the local sheriff takes one look at Cassie and immediately feels drawn to her. It takes all of Shane's self control and lots of hard work to win Cassie's heart and free her from the terror of an ex-husband who wants her dead as well as freeing himself from the heartbreak leftover from his cheating fiancee Sandra.

Book 3: Chased is Marc and Liv's story. Liv has decided that at 34 she is ready for forever and sets out with a plan to find it. Marc is the quintessential bachelor that every woman wants. Marc and Liv are friends but Marc wants so much more and sets out to convince Liv that they are meant to be together. Liv uses every excuse there is for why it won't work. While reading this one I thought it was my absolute favorite of the series leaving me wanting a Marc Chase in my life!

Book 4: Making Chase is Matt and Tate's story. Matt and Tate grow up on opposite sides of the tracks. When Tate gets hit by a car Matt is the first one on the scene. Tate sends him cookies as a thank you fulfilling the dream his daddy had about him and an unknown woman with cookies. It takes a lot of work and convincing for Matt to make Tate see that they belong together. I know I said that book 3 was my absolute favorite but I was so wrong!!! This one made me smile and tear up and some times both at the same time.

No cliffhangers with these and I don't think they have to be read in order but the characters do carryover from book to book. This is another series full of alpha males, stalkers, abusive ex-husbands, broken hearts, sex and love, fear of loving someone who will leave, and even abusive parents. I loved this series so much that I read it all in less than one weeks time. Thanks goodness no one else had checked them out at the library because having to wait between would have driven me crazy. I could see myself reading these again and enjoying them just as much the second time around.