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on Jan 04, 2019 10:28:06 AM

5 Tips for Buying a Home in Greater Des Moines

Finding and purchasing a home that is a good fit for you and your family takes time and diligent searching. Follow these five tips to keep the process as stress-free as possible and set yourself up to come away with a new home that you’ll love for years to come.


1. Prepare financially

You’ll get a much better deal on your home loan if you do some groundwork first. Check your credit reports, clear up any mistakes, and take any appropriate steps to improve your score before you start shopping. Decide how much you are going to need for a down payment, and have it readily accessible when you need it.

Once you have your finances squared away, get pre-approved for a loan so you have an idea of what you will be allowed to borrow as well as what you will reasonably be able to afford. Don’t be afraid to shop around for the best deal! According to Credit Karma, credit bureaus tend to take into account the fact that multiple inquiries from mortgage lenders in a short period of time most likely means that you’re simply looking for the best deal and do not treat this behavior the same as, for example, credit card inquiries when determining your score.


2. Find a Realtor who works well with you

A competent, helpful real estate agent who holds your best interests front and center can make the home buying process much easier. If you begin working with an agent who doesn’t return your calls or emails promptly, who can’t quickly get you into the homes you want to tour, who doesn’t answer your questions satisfactorily, or who seems to want to push your price range beyond your comfort level, then don’t hesitate to move on. The real estate business is very competitive, and there is certainly an agent out there who would be happy to provide you with exceptional service to help you find the home you really want.

A good way to start looking for a Realtor is by asking friends and acquaintances about their experiences with local agents. If you know people who have bought and/or sold a home recently, ask about their agents – what they liked or didn’t like about working with them, how responsive they were to questions or requests to view properties, and how well the agents represented their interests in the home buying process.


3. Research cities and neighborhoods

The Des Moines metro includes numerous suburbs and small towns, each with its own distinctive character. If you already live in Greater Des Moines, you likely know something about many of these communities already, but if you’re relocating from another part of Iowa or from outside the state, you’ll need to research more deeply. When considering what type of community best suits you, it’s important to prioritize your values. No neighborhood can have it all, so consider the relative importance of features like:

4. Consider what you want and need in the home itself

What kind of floor plans do you prefer – 2-story, ranch, split level? An open design or one with more privacy? How many bedrooms and how much square footage do you want? Do you want a large, fenced yard for your kids and dog, or do you want a small lot with simple, easy-to-maintain landscaping to suit your busy lifestyle?

It can be helpful to start with a list of things you wish you had in your current home. Maybe your kitchen is too cramped, you don’t get enough natural light, or you find your 8-foot ceilings oppressive. Whatever it is, start making your wish list, and look for homes that can make your wishes come true.


5. Take a closer look

Before you make the leap into buying a new home, spend some time not just in the home itself but also out in the neighborhood. Take in the sights, sounds, smells, and overall vibe. Visit at different times of day, if possible, and picture yourself living in the community. Ask yourself questions like:
  • How do I feel about the noise level?
  • Where will I go for shopping, dining, recreation, exercise, and other regular activities?
  • Do the neighbors seem friendly? Is there a sense of community?
  • How will I get where I need to go every day?

When you’re ready to start shopping for a new home in the Des Moines metro, check out the variety available in the Hubbell Homes family of communities. Whether you are interested in building a custom home or purchasing one that is move-in ready, we have a wide range of properties and home sites available. Get in touch today!
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