Buying a home is one of the biggest decisions you’ll ever make. It may seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. The best way to keep on top of everything? Get organized. Develop a system and stick to it! Many financial institutions have apps, checklists and guides you can download to create a smooth home buying experience.
Here are some tips to stay organized as you search for and/or buy a home:
- Keep track of where you’ve been—and what homes you like
As you search various homes, it’s easy to forget what features stood out to you. Did it have walk-in closets? A finished basement? Does it have enough bathrooms? To help you remember the amenities of each house, use a homebuyer’s checklist with detailed information about each property you see, including:
- The location and style of home
- Type of construction
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Features, such as fireplace, fenced-in yard and laundry room
There are also many smartphone apps, such as the My New HomeSM app, that can help you keep track of these items and allow you to rate homes and store photos.
- Have your paperwork together, so you’re ready to apply for a mortgage
You’ll need to collect several documents when you apply for a mortgage. Gathering those now will save you time later. Mortgage lenders usually need:
- All pay stubs for the past month
- W-2 tax statements from the past two years (If you’re self-employed, you need two years personal and business taxes.)
- Bank or investment statements for the past three months
- The home purchase contract between you and the seller
You should also think about how to best store your documents, such as in an envelope or tabbed binder that fits legal-sized papers, for easy access.
- Stay on top of contact names, phone numbers, emails.
Your new home search may take months, and involve dozens of people – realtors, salespeople, contractors, appraisers, inspectors, mortgage professionals, consultants, etc. Making yourself a chart or spreadsheet of contacts with all of their pertinent info will help you keep track of everything – and is easier to maintain than an unwieldy stack of business cards.
- Get ready to move into your new home
It’ll take some time and organization to prepare for the big move, especially since you’ll likely be closing on your new home at the same time. Even though it will seem as though there aren’t enough hours to get it all done, don’t rush it. Make sure you plan properly, so you have time to do it right and don’t miss, lose or break anything along the way.
Try using a moving timeline to organize your move. It has hints for what to start packing from six weeks out right up to moving day. Plus, there are handy reminders for things you may have not considered, such as filling out a change of address form, notifying your children’s old and new schools, and transferring prescriptions to a new pharmacy.
The bottom line: Buying a new home doesn’t have to make you a ball of stress. By getting organized, you can make the whole process as stress-free as possible.
Myers Barnes is America’s favorite new home sales trainer, author, speaker and consultant. For more information, please visit www.myersbarnes.com.