How to Search Like a Pro, Even as a First-Time Home Buyer

How to Search Like a Pro, Even as a First-Time Home Buyer

When you’re in the market for a new home, it pays to be prepared. By following some simple steps and arming yourself with the right tools, you can search like a pro – even if this is your first time buying a house. Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate is here to help, so we’ve put together this guide with advice for first-time home buyers. We’ll walk you through each step of the process, from finding the right neighborhood to getting pre-approved for a mortgage.

Start by knowing what you want

If you're in the market for a new home, it's important to know what's important to you. Start by making a list of your must-have and must-not-have items: the number of bathrooms, bedrooms, and other living spaces like home offices and dining rooms; any non-negotiable interior features, such as hardwood floors or energy efficiency options; and the nice-to-have amenities that would make your home more enjoyable. You'll also want to include some absolute no-go's: unwanted views, noise levels, or commute times that don't work for you. Taking the time to consider all these points ahead of time will help you narrow down your list of prospective properties — and make your hunt for just the right place to live much easier too!

Do your due diligence

Once you know what kind of home you're looking for, it's time to do some research. Start by studying the houses for sale in Waterbury, VT and the surrounding areas to see what is available in your price range and desired location. It would be beneficial if you also looked into the best neighborhoods for aesthetics, convenience, and amenities like nearby schools or recreation, including skiing and mountain biking.

The next step is to get pre-approved for a mortgage. Most lenders are willing to give potential buyers an estimate of what they may be able to borrow based on their credit score, income level, and other factors. Having this information in hand will make it easier to find homes within your budget and also give you a competitive edge when submitting offers.

Investigate neighborhoods

Investigating a neighborhood before starting your home search can ensure that the area you move into is exactly the kind of place you envision. The Waterbury area has many distinctive neighborhoods that are steeped in history, and offer a variety of amenities. Waterbury Village has churches, an elementary school, a post office, and even a museum, while Colbyville caters to businesses of all sizes - from Thatcher Brook Inn to Ben & Jerry's Homemade, Inc. Finally, Waterbury Center was one of the earliest settlements in the area, and today residents enjoy the general store and nearby Cold Hollow Cider Mill where you can watch the pressing process for apple cider. Taking the time to carefully research each neighborhood can help make sure you end up with a home that meets all your needs!

Check out school scores

As part of your due diligence when house hunting, taking a look at the school scores can be especially important if you have children or plan to have them in the future. School scores can tell you a lot about a potential place's education system – including test scores and college readiness – as well as how equitable their system is for all students.

Take Thatcher Brook Primary School, for example, which has an almost perfect score of 7/10 on, with a 9/10 for Test Scores. Crossett Brook Middle School, located nearby in Duxbury, has a 4/10 overall, with 6/10 for Test Scores. And lastly, there’s Harwood Union High School in nearby Moretown with 6/10 overall, 9/10 for College Readiness, and 7/10 for Test Scores. Checking out these school scores can give buyers plenty of information when making an informed decision on their new home purchase and help ensure they live in an area that meets their educational needs!

Ensure your finances are in order

As you’re beginning the exciting journey of searching for your dream home among homes for sale in Waterbury, VT, make sure to take the necessary steps to get your financial house in order first. Before submitting offers on houses, buyers should ensure they have obtained a pre-approval from their lender, and have budgeted for a down payment and other closing costs associated with purchasing the home. Additionally, it is important to note the expected mortgage payment amounts - taking into consideration both the desired term length and whether a fixed or variable rate is preferred. Buyers should also remember to put aside funds for repairs that may arise during the first year of ownership. Planning ahead will save countless hours down the road, so be sure you’re doing your due diligence to make sure everything is taken care of ahead of time!

Work with a buyer's agent

As you get closer to selecting and closing on the perfect home, it is helpful to partner with a buyer’s agent who can assist you in every step of the process.

Interview agents

Taking the time to interview several agents is one of the most important steps when you're looking to buy a house. It's essential to find someone who not only has knowledge about the local market and houses in your price range, but also fits with your style and personality. Interviewing more than one agent will help you narrow down candidates and pick someone who understands what you need from them as a buyer's agent.

Different agents may offer different advantages, so it's important to consider all aspects of each potential choice before making a decision on which agent is right for you. With the right buyer's agent by your side, purchasing a home or investment property can be an easy and enjoyable experience!

Coldwell Banker Carlson Real Estate has experienced agents well-versed in the Waterbury area who can help guide buyers through their complex real estate transactions. To schedule an interview with us, reach out to them at your earliest convenience. 

Start the hunt in earnest

Now that you've decided to hire a buyer's agent and have found the perfect individual to represent you in your search for a home, it's time to start the house hunt in earnest. Start by perusing MLS listings, which will give an overview of what’s available in the market. From there, set up some visits with your agent and take some time to tour a few homes inside and out. Be sure to attend open houses so that you can get a better feel for the house and the neighborhood. Though it can be both exciting and intimidating, beginning your house hunt is an important step and the key to finding your forever home!

Make an offer and close on your new home

Once you've found the perfect home and your buyer's agent has helped you make an offer, it's time to get ready to close on your purchase. Your buyer's agent can help ensure everything is in order for the closing process, from making sure all paperwork is properly filled out to negotiating any last-minute details. After that, all that's left to do is celebrate your new home!

Making a major purchase like a house can be overwhelming, but with the right resources and advice, finding homes for sale in Waterbury, VT or Stowe doesn’t have to be daunting. By following these steps, buyers will be well-equipped as they search for their perfect home.

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If you’re looking for the largest selection of real estate available in our area, you’ve come to the right place and we’re here to help you.

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