Tip #1: Take Notes. A LOT Of Notes.
Once you tour more than three or four homes, it will become very hard to remember which specific characteristics belonged to which home. Bring a notepad with you and take notes on each of the different homes you see. Write down anything - good or bad - that stands out to you about each home, such as carpet that needs replacing, unusual features in the kitchen, glass railings in the stairway, etc. You will rely on these notes more heavily than you might think!
Tip #2: Pay Attention Each Home's Surroundings.
Keep in mind that you won't just be buying your new house - you'll also be buying the neighborhood, the view, and the surrounding area. As you tour each potential home, take note of its surroundings. Is it located right next to a noisy street or highway? Are the neighboring homes in poor condition? Is there a lot of construction going on nearby? Add these observances to your notes about each property. While some of these things might not affect you directly, it's important to look at all of the variables when buying a home.
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The way homes look online tend to differ greatly from the way they look in real life. You can save yourself (and your Lake of the Ozarks real estate agent) a great deal of time by driving by the homes you want to tour before scheduling any showings. Sometimes, driving past the front of the home will reveal deal-breakers that you couldn't see from the online listings. Driving past the homes first will help you ensure that you only schedule tours of the homes that have legitimate potential!
Tip #4: Differentiate Your Needs From Your Wants.
Do you need a home with vaulted ceilings and a tile shower? Probably not, although it would certainly be a nice perk! On the other hand, you probably do need a home with enough bedrooms to give you and your family places to sleep. Taking the time to identify what you need in a new home versus what you want will help you stay organized and focused during your home search. It's certainly okay to get swept away by the dazzling features of each home you tour (that's half the fun of buying a house at the Lake of the Ozarks!), but you want to make sure you only do so after you make sure the home will meet your needs.
Tip #5: Be Realistic About What You Can Afford.
Unfortunately, the loan amount you may be approved for does not necessarily indicate how much you can afford to spend on your new home. Your monthly mortgage payment is only part of the picture; once you have moved into your new home at the Lake of the Ozarks, you will also have to pay for utilities (electricity, water, trash, etc), repairs, any association fees, and the upgrades you wish to make. All of these extra expenses tend to add up quickly! Protect yourself and your investment by creating a budget that outlines your income and projected expenses. Don't forget to add in the other costs of livings, such as groceries and fuel.
Want More Home Hunting Help? Contact Eagle's Nest Realty!
Buying real estate at the Lake of the Ozarks is big undertaking; it's important to make sure you go about it the right way! If you are looking for a Lake of the Ozarks REALTOR® to help you through the process, we hope you'll keep us in mind. We would love to help you find your new home!
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