When you’re searching for a home, you have a lot of information to keep track of. You’ll need documentation for your mortgage, information about each house you are considering, and the accumulated paperwork that you’ll eventually need for closing. Losing track of just one necessary item can delay any progress you’ve made towards taking possession of your new home.
Luckily, some easy organization techniques can help you keep your relevant information together and will make it easier for you to decide on the right home when the time comes. Try one or all of these strategies to keep things streamlined during your home search.
- Keep A File System: Whether it’s online or on paper, keep a filing system with all of your house-hunting related information. Make segments for categories such as financing, searches, offers, and closing documents so that you always know where to find something. Looking at real estate in Orange County and properties for sale in Riverside County? Have separate areas for each county, so you don’t get confused.
- Work With An Agent: If this is your first home purchase or your fifth, it’s vital to work with a real estate agent to gain access to more information about properties while helping you stay organized. The right agent will listen to what you need and what you want in a house, and will organize his or her search to maximize the time you spend looking.
- Make A List: You need to determine what it is you want out of a house and what it is you need so that you can keep accurate comparisons when making a decision. Some of the questions to ask yourself include:
- How many bedrooms/bathrooms will I need?
- What square footage will I need?
- What kind of neighborhood do I want to be in?
From there you can move on to “wants,” or anything that would be nice to have – but you could make do without. Wants may be related to outdoor space, location, interior layouts, flooring, etc. If you’re looking at active markets like real estate in Los Angeles County, you may need to be flexible with your wants.
- Keep An Updated Budget: One of the easiest things to lose track of when buying a home is the fees you’ll be responsible for. Try keeping a spreadsheet or other document that monitors:
- How much you have to spend (based on a mortgage preapproval)
- How much down payment you can afford
- What closing costs and other fees you’ll be responsible for (based on the Loan Estimate form from your lender)