The Ultimate Guide to Finding Your Dream Home

Whether you need to upgrade from your current home, or you’re a first-time home buyer, you likely know the real estate process can be a daunting one. If you’re shopping for a house, you’ve likely been on real estate websites, such as Zillow, Redfin, or

For a while after the pandemic, it seemed as if home buying was a sport — a game to see who could put in the highest bid, so knowing how to position offers and negotiate are important for the home buying process. Who knew the real estate market would get so hot?

It’s never been more important to use a realtor, despite what you may have been told. Finding the perfect home takes an understanding of the housing market and staying on top of new real estate listings, open houses, and things to watch out for when it’s “too good of a deal.”

All of this is more easily navigated with a professional real estate agent. Statistics show that 88 percent of people who buy a home opt to work with a realtor for their home purchase.

Now that you’ve set out to find your dream home, where do you begin?

1. Determine Your Style

When shopping for a new home, it’s important to think about how you currently live, and how you want to live. Do you hate yard work? If so, you may want to consider a townhouse or condo-style home.

Does the idea of neighbors on the other side of your wall make you feel smothered without privacy? In that case, focus your search on single family homes and don’t look back.

In 2018, out of 138 million homes, 67 percent were single-family homes. Multi-family units, such as condos, townhouses, and duplexes comprised 27 percent of the housing supply.

Define your deal breakers up front before house hunting. For example, if a home office is a must-have feature, try hard to stick to what you want, but with current market conditions, be willing to compromise if you can make something work.

Can a nook in the basement be turned into a home office? Could you fit a desk and office chair into that light-filled sunroom?

Knowing what you want will lessen the time it takes to search for a house. Staying open-minded could help you actually get a house. For many people, this is the biggest purchase they will ever make in their lifetime.

Maybe you’ve always dreamed of residing in a sprawling tudor-style house with enough square footage to entertain, and at this point in your life, you can afford it. On the other hand, your dream house may be a 900-square-foot condo that you can call your own, earn equity and never endure rent increases again.

Whatever a dream home means to you, it’s important to define what it is before embarking on a search.

2. Set a Budget

Determining the type of home is important, but most importantly, you’ll need to set a budget within a price range before your home search. Many people get sticker shock when shopping for a house these days.

It seems like everything else, prices have notched up over the last few years. The average purchase price of a home in 2019 was $244,000. There are definitely homes you can find with lower purchase prices, but there are many factors to consider, including property taxes, mortgage rates, and the down payment that will be required.

Besides type of home and budget decisions, you’ll want to pay close attention to the location of properties you’re considering purchasing.

3. Consider the Location

Veteran home buyers give an obligatory eye-roll when it’s said but the rule for smart real estate buying is location, location, location. As you drive around looking for houses with for sale signs, remember that the location matters and is an important consideration for your investment.

Many buyers weigh out things like the crime rate or the quality of the school district. The school district of the house plays a major role for many buyers when it comes to making home buying decisions.

This one factor is so weighted that studies show more than half of home buyers consider the school district into their purchase decision. This is often true even if they don’t currently have kids, as the school district can impact the desirability of the neighborhood overall.

But everything is a trade-off, and better neighborhoods will typically cost more to live there. Crime rate and the school district can impact the affordability of the neighborhood.

How To Transport Your Car When You Move

It’s possible you’re open to a few different locations, and some may even be outside the state you currently reside. If that’s the case, you may need to think about shipping a car, and this is something you’ll want to put into your budget.

We specialize in relocation of cars for people who move for personal or work reasons. Getting a quote is easy, and you can rest assured your car will arrive safely in your new state — even if it’s across the country.

4. Set a Deadline

As with any goal, it’s important to set a timeline, or even a deadline, for your home-buying objective. A good exercise to do is to create a timeline with an end date of when you’d like to be moved into your newly purchased home, and do a workback schedule from there.

Include when you plan to have financing in order, find a realtor, and you can even begin purging items in your current residence to make the move easier once you do find your dream home. Set a deadline for yourself and mark the calendar — keep your goal front and center.

5. Look Into Your Home Financing Options

When it comes to setting up your financing, you’ll want to make sure your credit score is as high as you can get it to obtain the best interest rates. You can shop lenders at local banks and credit unions, or shop online.

Be sure to do a search for who is offering the best rates possible. A few percentage points will cost you tens of thousands of dollars in interest over the life of the loan. You’ll want your pre-approval letter ready to go when you start making offers.

6. Plan for the Future

If you’ve been renting, and you’re planning your first home purchase, one of the things you’ll need to get used to is doing your own repairs, maintenance costs, potentially rising property taxes, and that new roof that only has five years left of life.

Home ownership can be among the most rewarding experiences of your life, but it’s more than fancy hedges, a gorgeous kitchen, or the huge garage you’ve always wanted. It’s a new level of responsibility and planning will save you headaches.

Planning for future expenses is a critical part of taking the step to home ownership. The smart thing to do is to start an emergency savings account for when (not if) these extra expenses come up that fall outside of the mortgage payments.

Also, be sure to maintain a stellar credit score. As you gain equity in your home, you’ll be able to get equity loans if you need them for large, unexpected repairs.

7. Get a Home Inspection

Getting a home inspection ensures that, for what may be the largest purchase of your life, you’re doing your due diligence to avoid large, costly expenses you never saw coming. The majority of people purchasing a home opt in for a home inspection, and many times, they include it as a contingency to purchase the property, barring major issues.

In fact, only 14 percent of home buyers waive a property inspection. In a highly competitive real estate market, some buyers waive this house inspection when they know there are multiple bids coming in on the house. Proceed with caution in these cases.

8. Remember To Stay Flexible

The home buying process can be stressful and filled with ups and downs, lost bids, and a lack of inventory. Keep in mind that you need to stay flexible, but above all, remember to stick to your budget, but remain flexible on things that aren’t ideal, but you could make it work regardless.

Also, if you find the perfect home in an awesome location, but it needs renovations you can’t afford, know that you can always renovate later when money and time are available.

Once you do find your perfect home, be sure that before it’s move-in time, you remember to protect the investment you worked so hard to get. Purchase homeowner’s insurance on your new home, and cancel the homeowners insurance or rental insurance on your previous residence.

Bottom Line

Buying your dream home is exciting, and the more prepared you are, the smoother the process will go. Finding the right realtor who knows how to negotiate could make or break an offer in a competitive market. It’s important to consider factors like the type of home you want, the location you’re aiming for, and budgeting for costs like shipping a car for an out of state relocation.

Contact us today for a free quote for shipping your car once you’ve purchased your dream home.

Is Buying A House Without A Realtor A Good Idea? | Forbes
Housing Supply Chartbook |
A Huge Increase in Home Inspections Shows That Buyers are Finally Wrestling Back Some Purchasing Power | Fortune
Schools & the Home Buying Decision | National Association of Realtors

Three simple steps to get your FREE quote
Carvaygo Quick Quote
Vehicle Info
Transit Info
Contact Info
Enter a 4-digit year.
Enter a 4-digit year
<< Back
It seems you want to move a Classic Car. To treat her right and get an accurate quote, you will need to talk to one of our Customer Service Representatives at 888-444-2612.
Enter the Make and Model of your vehicle
<< Back
i.e., fender flares, lowered suspension, oversized tires, etc.
Up to 4 images with size max of 4MB each
<< Back
We’re just trying to get to know you a little better. Your answer will not impact your quote amount.
<< Back
<< Back
Enter a city and state.
<< Back
Enter a city name.
<< Back
<< Back
In order to provide a quote, we need your valid phone number.
We do NOT sell Personal Information to third parties.
<< Back
In order to provide a quote, we need your full name.
Enter your first and last name.
<< Back
Enter your email address.
<< Back