So you’re ready for life at a better pace but you’re not quite sure how to get started with the next (and the most fun) step – house hunting. Initially you might you have an app for that. After all, there are quite a few 3rd-party service providers that make it easy for prospective buyers to search property listings online and are popular with the cool kids these days! That’s not a bad place to start for the casual window-shoppers, but without a few other bits of information you might find yourself stuck in scrolling limbo, no closer to your dream home than you are at this moment. So how do you escape scrolling limbo? Information. The more information you have, the clearer your picture gets for where to start your search. Gather up some details relating to the following:
- Prepare a Budget. Before you get to decide fun things such as whether you want a log home in the woods or a chalet by the lake, you’re going to have to put together a realistic budget to operate within. Having a budget in mind from the beginning will save you a lot of time and headache since, obviously, you can’t buy anything that won’t fit into your budget. Talk to a local real estate professional (I recommend myself) and pick his/her brain about what things cost. Contact a mortgage broker or talk to a representative at your bank about mortgage interest rates, the different loan products available, and what costs look like. This kind of knowledge will help to guide your initial search.
- Choose A Location. The Poconos is broken up into many private communities. Each community is different, with some offering lakes and pools and others offering simply road maintenance. What amenities would you like to have access to? Is it important to you that you can kayak in a lake? Or would you rather be able to ride your bike to the store? Perhaps you don’t need lakes or pools or any of that stuff and you would just prefer to be left alone off the beaten path in the woods somewhere. All this centers around location – what you want to be near and what you want access to. Think about your dream location and what you would want nearby.
- Decide on a Real Estate Agent. As a buyer you may think that you don’t need an agent. With so much information at your fingertips via the internet, why would you need someone else? Well, a local real estate professional can help make the home-buying process smooth by seeing headaches before they happen, knowing how to navigate the other “working parts” of a transaction (title company, lender, appraiser, building inspector, etc.). Remember, not all agents are created equal and not all agents are the right pick for the job. I don’t mean this to disparage colleagues, but more to highlight the differences in how people operate and what they specialize in. For instance, an agent who mainly handles long-term rentals and property management might not be as thoroughly well-versed in home sales in a private community as compared to someone who specializes in home sales. Do some research, interview agents, ask questions about the area you are interested in and use all that information to decide who you want to start with.
Once you have this information and you are ready to decide on an agent to work with, you will find that you feel more equipped to make a good decision for yourself and your personal situation. Call your agent, tell him/her/me what day and time you want to come out to the Poconos to view some properties and also tell of any specific properties you have seen online that you want to see in person. Your agent will set up the appointments for you and escort you around, showing you what the Poconos has to offer you personally. See you around the mountain!