Once you decide to move, the first obstacle you will face is finding the right home in the neighborhood you like. How does one approach this important, life-altering task? Of course, being prepared can help you a lot, and that’s why we have made a house-hunting tips checklist that can prepare you for everything you will face during your search. Follow our guide, and you are sure to find the place of your dreams in no time. 

What should I look for when house-hunting? That is a question that bothers anyone who is about to begin their search. Luckily, with a house-hunting guide that we will provide you with, you can’t go wrong. We will mention everything you should know about and help you avoid the most common mistakes. 

Why Is House-Hunting So Stressful and How to Deal With the Pressure? 

Anything relocation-related is challenging, everybody knows that. However, before you start stressing out about organizing an efficient move, you have to face countless obstacles during your search for a new home in one of many fantastic Philadelphia neighborhoods. How will you overcome them if you have no clue how to house-hunt? The real estate market can be tricky, especially during a pandemic. But, the solution to your problems is actually relatively easy – do thorough research and pick up the most efficient tips for house-hunting. To save you time, we have dug up everything that can help you find a dream home for a price your moving expenses checklist can take. 

How Long Should You House-Hunt?

If you have to move in a hurry, the chances are that you will have to pack up weeks of scouting locations into a smaller time frame. In that case, you will have to work with what you have, but those conditions aren’t ideal for such an important thing in one’s life. On the other hand, those who aren’t in a rush to plan their moving-away party can allow themselves a slower tempo. Our best advice – don’t try to rush your decision

You will be under plenty of moving stress later when you start packing dishes or furniture – let yourself enjoy a bit more before you begin with your moving to-do list. Besides, pressure can lead you to overlook some crucial details or problems with the new home that you might’ve noticed if you were a bit more focused. So, follow the golden rule of the hunt – take as long as you need before you are sure that making an offer is the right thing to do. 

The Market in Philadelphia Right Now – What Can You Expect? 

Even before the Covid-19, things have been a bit chaotic. In 2021, Philadelphia’s market is pretty much one of the hottest seller’s markets out there – the demand has been crazy, and getting your new living space can turn out to be a complete bidding war with many buyers. So, once you set your sight to buying a place in Philly, expect a lot of competition. It will be a challenge, but we believe you will come out as the winner – with our excellent tips for the hunt, you will be one of the lucky buyers. 

A view of the front door of the brick house
If you rush with this decision, you might regret it later

#1 Find a Reputable Real Estate Agent

Trust us when we tell you that you do not wish to search for your future home alone. A trustworthy real estate agent can make all the difference in this lengthy process, even though it may not seem like that at first glance. Yes, you can find great places in, let’s say, west Philadelphia neighborhoods after a quick look online on your own – but buying homes without professional assistance can turn out to be a bigger bite than you can chew. Buying a home shouldn’t be taken lightly – after all, it is a lot of money, and professionals are more than welcome in these situations. Your best bet is hiring a reputable real estate agent. That will easily ensure you find the property that fits all your needs and budget.

Don’t Book the First Realtor You Can Find – Do a Little Digging Before Hiring Anyone

You might be too overwhelmed with the upcoming relocation that you will be tempted to pick the first real estate agent you can find. But, going for the quick solution can be a wrongdecision that can cost you time and money if you’re not lucky. You wouldn’t want to end up with an agent that is only out for the pay and doesn’t care about your customer experience. So, what can you do to rule out the bad ones? 

Check the reviews and read about the realtor before you even consider them as an option. You can also ask your friends or colleagues to recommend someone trustworthy. Once you have a shortlist of names, meet with all of them before you choose. Meeting in person will give you a lot of info on a real estate agent, and you can see for yourself whether they are genuinely interested in helping you. 

A realtor in a blue suit showing a place to a couple
A trusted realtor can be a priceless asset during your hunt

#2 You Should Be Pre-Approved for Mortgage Before You Start the Hunt

Why is pre-approval necessary? During this process, your lender will determine how much money you can afford to spend on your new residence. Once they give you the number, you can look for the houses within your price range. That way, your realtor will know which places to show you, and you won’t waste your energy on visiting too expensive homes. 

Having a budget plan will not only make things easier but will also speed up the process of finding your new property. This is a simple and yet effective hack that will show you the right direction and allow you to snatch the best property off the market quickly. You will soon be unpacking after the move – the moving day will come quicker than you think, so start deciding what to keep when moving as soon as possible. 

Your mortgage will, for the large part, dictate the search for the new property

#3 Research Potential Neighborhoods and Narrow Down the List of Places That You Could Live in 

Naturally, everyone has a general idea of what kind of neighborhood they want to live in, and they go over their wishes with the realtor before visiting any houses. When you work with a good realtor, you can expect them to bring up many potential homes for you to choose from – whether they are located in east, west, north, or south Philadelphia neighborhoods. However, you can quickly improve the choosing process by deciding from the start which areas you would wish to live in. That way, the realtor can focus on those places and let go of the rest. 

Pay a Visit to Any Neighborhood Where You Seriously Consider Buying a Property

It happens – buyers sometimes make an offer before seeing the place in person. Keep in mind that this is one of the worst things to do when buying a residence. Even if the place ends up being the same as in pictures, the neighborhood might not be quite what you want it to be. You can fix some small things inside your place, but you can’t fix the streets surrounding it – so, before making any decisions, you should visit the area. Get a feel of the neighborhood, and see what it’s like during the day and night. Another smart trick would be driving through during peak hours, so you can see what the traffic is like. Check if it indeed has what you need, and if it does, proceed to visit homes for sale. 

An empty street with tree lines on both sides
See the neighborhood in person before you start scouting the homes

#4 Determine Your Non-Negotiable Terms 

Knowing what to look for when house-hunting is of utmost importance. But, you should think practically – don’t confuse what you want and what you actually need. We would all probably love an astonishing view of Philly, but ask yourself – do I need this? Do I need five rooms or could I live with only 3? Can I afford the place with a large garden, or do I have to go for the smaller one? 

You must think inside the budget, but even that isn’t enough. One of the top moving hacks is this – find a place with a price that is a little below your pre-approval for a mortgage. That way, you will have enough money for any surprises – there might be a few things to fix in the new place, or you could overspend pre-relocation (there’s a lot to think about, from tipping movers to hiring someone to do a move-in and move-out cleaning).

Write a List of Must-Haves Before You Meet With the Realtor

Any realtor who knows what they are doing will always ask buyers for their must-haves. However, it is usually recommended that you come up with non-negotiable terms before you talk to your realtor. Why is this crucial? First, it will save you and your realtor a lot of time. The second and more important reason is that you should take more than a few moments to decide this. If the realtor asks you what you’re looking for, and you are unprepared and put on the spot – you can easily forget one or two items on the list. That will mislead the realtor, which in turn means that you will be placing an offer later rather than sooner. 

Man and woman sitting at the desk, laptop, coins, and piggy bank on the desk
Be sure to think thoroughly before you give the realtor your list of must-haves

#5 Keep Your Eyes Wide Open During an Open House 

So, you are finally ready to begin the search. The realtor has come up with a few possible options for you, and you’re about to start visiting open houses. What do you need to pay attention to once you step foot into the place that’s for sale? 

Pay Extra Attention to The Kitchen, Bathroom, and Garden

Of course, you will scout every room and decide whether the place seems nice. But, pretty isn’t enough to lure experienced buyers. Check the condition of the walls, the smell inside the rooms (it could hint at mold), and be sure to thoroughly inspect the kitchen and the bathroom (they are the most expensive parts of any residence). 

Also, we must emphasize that, in this case, the saying “don’t judge the book by its covers” doesn’t work – you should 100% pay attention to the outside, the same as the inside. We’ve mentioned how vital inspecting the neighborhood is, but so is your garden. Keep your eyes wide open for anything out of order. By now, you have surely realized that it could be overwhelming to think of everything you should pay attention to – that’s why we suggest checking out the video below. It will give you further insight into this topic.

#6 Go for a Second Visit Before You Make Any Decisions

Even if you fall in love with the place, at first sight, putting an offer after one visit isn’t reasonable. Let’s say your realtor wanted to show you a dozen houses in one day – indeed, you won’t have hours to expect each one of them, right? So, that means you will be on schedule and won’t do a complete inspection of every place you visit. You could easily overlook some problems with your dream residence after spending only, for example, 15 minutes there. That’s why another visit is in order. The second time you come to see the place, you will be prepared to check out every corner in each room, and after that, you can place an offer with a clear head. 

A realtor putting keys in a person's hands over the desk
Only after the second visit can you be sure of your decision

Don’t Make a Common Mistake During Your Hunt – Learn What to Avoid 

You have learned what to do during the hunt, but have you asked yourself what should you not do while house-hunting? As always, we have the answers. Check the list below, where we have gathered the most common mistakes made during the hunt:

  • Taking photos while looking at the place – This is simply a waste of your energy. Try to soak in the feeling of the rooms and notice things with your eyes, rather than a camera. If you forget how the space looks, you can always check it later online. 
  • Getting too attached to a place – As we’ve mentioned before, you should expect a bidding war. There will be plenty of offers, and things aren’t over until yours is accepted – only then you shouldn’t celebrate. 
  • Being too stuck on details – When we say details, we mean easily fixed problems. You shouldn’t pass on amazing houses simply because you didn’t love a few features. Think outside the box – you can fix minor issues after the move.
  • Limiting your options – Keep in mind that nothing is perfect, and your future residence won’t be as well. Letting go of unreasonable expectations is of enormous importance. If you’re too picky, you will narrow your search pool considerably, and the hunt will go on forever. 
 A person holding a model of the white house in their hands
If you don’t avoid the usual mistakes, this hunt will be a lot harder than it has to be

Now That You Know the Best House-Hunting Tips, All You Need Is an Excellent Philadelphia Moving Company 

After you figure out where you will be moving to, the question becomes this – how do you organize a local move? If you wish to avoid all those moving scams, hiring us is the way to go – we are one of the top-rated Philadelphia moving companies. With us by your side, you can expect to have an effortless residential relocation. We can ensure that everything goes smoothly, without any lost boxes or broken fragile items. Our company hires only well-trained and highly experienced Philly movers, who will transport everything besides items movers won’t move for safety reasons. 

We offer outstanding packing assistance – you can count on our team of packers and movers to handle your belongings with care. Whether it’s packing pots and pans or countless books from your living room, you can trust that we will do the job without a single mistake. Our movers in Philadelphia can assist you with apartment moving, and we can also provide you with labor-only service. This type of service is perfect for those who want to move safely and worry about how they will move a piano or large furniture. If you are moving to a smaller place, we can move your belongings to storage – just book our in- and-out-of storage service. We provide our clients with the highest quality services for fair and affordable pricescontact us, and let us show you why we have excellent reviews for all of our moving services in Philadelphia.