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Buying a home is an exciting event, but can also be pretty stress-inducing… if you go into it unprepared. To prepare yourself for the housing market, take the time to research your local market, find a good agent, and establish your standards for your house hunt. This will help you through the process and help you feel in control of your real estate experience.

Expect Heavy Competition

Supply and demand have swung to a point where existing homes are more highly sought after than ever. The competition for housing is significant, but don’t let that overwhelm you—you can still come to your offers as a stand-out candidate. Strive for confidence in your offers: prepare all of your necessary tax information (bank statements, income information like W2 forms, etc) so that you are ready to make an offer quickly when you find a property you like.

Find an Experienced Agent

Facing the housing market on your own may feel like a paralyzing task. Real estate agents are a great resource for guiding you through the housing market and pointing you in the right direction, providing centralized and organized information on the homes that match your desired qualities. Look for an agent that is knowledgeable and experienced in your specific location and situation! There are many benefits to using an experienced real estate agent as opposed to one unfamiliar with the area. This will assure that you get the best advice if you have any special circumstances to take into consideration, and it will help you feel heard and understood. You will trust your agent more if you are confident that they understand you.

Establish Your Standards

There are some elements of house hunting that you can be firm on and others that you may need to be flexible with. Determine what things fall into those two categories. Your budget, for example, is something you may have to set a firm ceiling for, but special features like access to community centers or balconies or wood versus carpet floorings are all things you may be more willing to compromise. What things do you need, and what things can you be ok not having (at least for now)? Going into your house search with these standards already established will make it an easier time saying yes or no to places on the list.

Even in this energetic housing climate, finding a home you love doesn’t have to be impossible or stressful. Prep yourself with expectations of the market, your agent, and your house to give yourself an easier time maneuvering real estate.

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