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When To Start Looking At Homes To Purchase

Blog by Century 21 Amos Realty | September 12th, 2012

House Hunting

When should you start looking for a home to buy?

This is a question that is never asked because many people think they know the answer to it...but in most cases they don't.

So when should you start looking for a home? Well, that depends on when you plan on purchasing. If you don't need financing it really depends on your situation and when you'd like to relocate. I wouldn't suggest looking before you are seriously willing to move. IE. If you start looking to purchase 6 mont
hs before you want to buy...those homes may or may not be still available. Unless of course you are purchasing an investment home and want to relocate later. Then purchase as soon as you see something that catches your eye.

My suggestion is look at when you plan on relocating. If you have no time frame by all means start looking online and researching. If you have a time frame of lets say 1 year...then start looking 6 months before you move so you have a firmed up date. No sooner...because home don't generally stay on the market that long.Unless you have the money and by all means happy house hunting...you can always make a long possession date and move in within that year.

If you have to obtain financing to purchase a home like most, then you should first get pre-approved from your bank or mortgage specialist. This will do 2 things.

1) Tell you exactly how much you are approved for and essentially what your price range is. 

2) Your bank will also tell you how long your interest rate will be locked in for on your pre-approved mortgage. This is usually approximately 90 days or less...it depends on the bank you are obtaining your mortgage through. After the 90 days, your specialist will have to re-approve your mortgage and you could potentially receive a higher interest rate as interest rates change constantly. So basically, unless your willing to potentially loose the lowest interest rate you've just been approved for....you should place an offer on a home within those 90 days.

So once you've become pre-approved for a mortgage you should start looking within the time frame you have your mortgage interest rate locked in. This will provide you with homes that are currently on the market. If you start looking before you are pre-approved, the houses you see may not be available once you are finally able to purchase. Or in a worst case scenario...if you start before you're pre-approved you could be looking outside your price range and now have to reevaluate what you are looking for and what your price range can give you...it's always easier to go up in price range but going down can be disappointing.

Happy home hunting everyone!