1. Prepare financially
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 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:
- Calm and quiet
- Access to restaurants and nightlife
- Access to natural elements like trails, parks, waterways, or wooded areas
- Quality of local schools
- Crime rate
- Convenience to work, school, and other regular activities
- Community amenities like playgrounds, common green space, or swimming pools
- Walkability and/or bikeability
- Neighborhood culture
- Living close to others in your or your children’s age ranges
- Access to public transportation
- Nearby recreational opportunities
- Future development plans
- Arts and cultural events
- Presence or absence of a homeowners association
4. Consider what you want and need in the home itself
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
- 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 more personalized home or purchasing one that is move-in ready, we have a wide range of properties and home sites available. Get in touch today!