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VIDEO: Why prequalify? It may make your move easier

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To get into your home sweet home, you’re going to have to do a lot of shopping. It’s very rare to find the perfect home on your first go‐round. In fact, sticking with your first choice isn’t always recommended.

Prequalifying for a home loan even before you start searching can save you time and heartache.

Get prequalified, and you’ll find out in advance exactly how much you can afford to buy. You’ll also have a competitive advantage by looking more serious in the eyes of a seller.

Compare, compare, and then compare some more

Remember those pros and cons lists we were taught to make in grade school? All that list‐making practice is finally going to come in handy.

Nowadays, there are plenty of fancy apps that will let you plug in features and compare two different homes within seconds. But when all is said and done, and you’re stuck between two or more houses, we still suggest putting pen to paper. A University of Liverpool study published in 2016 showed that something as simple as notetaking helped to improve the memory of jurors during a trial. In the same vein, writing down your favorite attributes and drawbacks as you visit a home could jog your memory later and help you make a smarter choice.

New to homebuying and mortgage? Consult our mortgage term glossary for extra help.

You can start by comparing these 14 important home features to see which house stands out:

  1. Price
  2. Location and school district
  3. Monthly P&I (Principal & Interest Payment)
  4. Square footage
  5. Number of bedrooms
  6. Number of bathrooms
  7. Size of kitchen/special features
  8. Size of dining room/special features
  9. Size of living room/special features
  10. Size of backyard/special features
  11. Garage or storage space
  12. Appliances
  13. Distance to work
  14. Upgrades needed

3 more easy ways to organize your house hunt

When you’re looking for a house, it helps to have a few tools in your back pocket:

1. Begin with some smartphone assistance. We suggest starting with our free LoanFly app that allows you to search for a home using our MLS scouting feature and conveniently save your top picks.

Click here to download LoanFly for the complete mortgage experience. It’s free and easy.

2. Next, put that (digital) pen to paper. Use a notetaking app to cover all the points on our comparison checklist above. We love the free app Simplenote because, well, it’s simple and user‐friendly. The paid app Noteshelf, which allows you to write freehand notes, was also recommended by The New York Times.

3. Finally, start making comparisons. When you’re done writing down your impression of each home you see, you can convert your notes into a simple pros and cons downloadable PDF chart. Or, try a more interactive automated pros and cons spreadsheet, compatible with Microsoft Excel.

House-hunting can actually be a lot of fun, when you stay organized and get prequalified first. Saving your favorite homes, taking notes, and putting together a comparison checklist can give you an extra boost of confidence to know you’re making the right decision. And when and if any questions arise during the house hunting process, we’re always here to lend an ear and help when we can. If you have any concerns about a house that could affect your home financing, we want to know right away.

For educational purposes only. Please contact your qualified professional for specific guidance.

Sources are deemed reliable but not guaranteed.