Searching for a new home can be both exhilarating and daunting. It’s a time-consuming process that, far too often, is filled with worry. Purchasing a house is a significant financial investment, and you might wonder if you are choosing the right one.

There are, however, ways you can make looking at homes for sale easier and more enjoyable. Sure, it’s a big job, but nobody says you can’t have fun with it. To simplify the process and avoid unpleasant surprises, try the following approach.

Start with an Online Search

Begin from the comfort of your living room and the convenience of your laptop or mobile phone. You can use a variety of online sites to explore neighborhoods from your couch. Check price ranges, styles, features, and more. This is a stress-free, low-key way to launch your search.

Visit the Neighborhoods

Once you’ve found several properties you like, learn more about the neighborhoods. Research them online and select ones that appeal to you. If you’re within driving distance, drive around the neighborhoods. This will give you a good idea of the feel of the area and neighboring homes.

After deciding which communities you like best, park your vehicle and walk around. How do the homes look? What kind of impression does the area make on you? You can narrow your search considerably once you’ve explored neighborhoods.

Look at the Bigger Picture

When you are ready to look at specific homes for sale, find a realtor who will make appointments for you. As you view each house, look beyond the staging or the clutter. Focus on the following:

– Layout: Are there enough rooms for you, your loved ones, and your belongings? Is the square footage suitable? Do you like the way the rooms are laid out?

– Structural Integrity: Check the indoor and exterior walls, doors and windows, floors, ceilings, and other parts of the house for any signs of structural problems. These may include noticeable cracks on the walls or ceilings that could be a result of foundation settling, or doors and windows that are unusually jammed.

– Lot Size & Grade: Is the lot too big to take care maintain? Will it be large enough for you to host outdoor events? Are sections too steep to use? Be certain that the lot works well for you.

– Orientation & Placement: What direction does the house face? Will certain rooms be too sunny or too dark throughout the day? Is the home too close to commercial zones or busy roads? Home orientation may seem insignificant when you’re thinking ‘big picture,’ but issues of sunlight can cause headaches after you move in.

Work with A Real Estate Agent

Tell your real estate professional exactly what you want and don’t want in your next home. Be honest about everything you’re looking for, from the age of the home to the price range that fits your budget. Your agent is working for you and can help simplify the process of evaluating area homes for sale. From negotiating a better price to securing a home warranty for your peace of mind, you should work with a real estate agent you trust.