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5 Tips to Unlock Your Dream Home

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Looking to buy a home that suits all your needs? Here are five important factors to consider.

Family walking by a house

How do you find your dream home? With the rise of remote work, finding the perfect location—much less the perfect home itself—can be a tricky endeavor. If it’s your first foray into homeownership, you might anticipate feeling overwhelmed by a house hunt. With so many factors to wrap your head around, the search can feel a bit dizzying.

No need to fret. Narrowing down what factors should top your priority list during the search will help you harness exactly the home you want. Read on for five factors to consider so that you can better understand your needs, tap into the potential of the market, and land your dream home.

1. Take Cost of Living Into Consideration

Uprooting from your current stomping grounds to a new part of the country—or a different part of the state—can mean a shift in the cost of everyday expenses. This includes housing, food, utilities, healthcare, and transportation. If you're moving from a more expensive area to a less pricey one, it could free up funds. On the flip side, if you move to a locale with a higher cost of living (and higher property taxes), you could feel the squeeze money-wise.

DO THIS: To get an idea of how moving somewhere will affect you financially, do your homework on the cost of living in areas that you're considering.

2. Find a Suitable Climate

While the idea of residing in certain climates is appealing, spending life in a place where the weather is dramatically different than that of your current environs—or your true ideal—might serve up a healthy dose of reality.

Sure, the vision of snow-blanketed winters can seem idyllic if you live on the West coast, but how would you fare with colder weather several months of the year? Or if you’re more acclimated toward moderate temperatures, would the relentless summer heat and arid terrain in the Southwest suit you?

DO THIS: Consider the kind of weather conditions you and your family will be happiest in and will thrive in year-in and year-out.

3. Determine What’s Within Walking Distance 

If your work setup means less-to-no commute, you'll have more time to enjoy where you live. A walkable neighborhood, where you can easily trek by foot to nearby shops, restaurants, parks, and other destinations, can give your quality of life a boost.

DO THIS: Check the walkability score of the area you're interested in here. Then, get a feel by wandering around the neighborhood.

4. Know If You Want Turnkey or a Fixer-Upper

With new WFH or hybrid work arrangements, you'll most likely be spending more time in your dwelling. So, be sure to think about which structural aspects and style your ideal abode will possess.

Do you prefer an old home with tons of character that will require some TLC and has separate rooms that don’t flow from one to another? Or are you looking for a new-build that’s more open-concept and move-in ready?

Also, what style of home speaks to you? Can you best picture yourself in a Craftsman, or would a domicile with Mid-century Modern flair be more fitting?

DO THIS: Try some vision boarding to pinpoint the main components of your home—such as the size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and architectural style.

5. Figure Out the Financing

This has always been a big one to consider, particularly with rising interest rates. How much of a down payment can you reasonably afford? And if you’re a first-time homeowner, are you mulling over the possibility of an FHA loan, which features lower minimum down payment requirements and easier credit qualifications?

Another major factor: To go with an adjustable-rate mortgage, where the interest rate changes over time and is based on the market, or a fixed rate mortgage, where the rate is the same throughout the term of your home loan. It’s true that rates have been rising, but they are still well below historic highs. So, you'll want to mull over the pros and cons of both mortgage options.

After you've found your dream home, Better Mortgage can help as you navigate everything from open houses to closing costs. Available in all 50 states, Better Mortgage has the tech and tools to help you lock in a low home loan rate and close quickly.

Plus, Better Mortgage has $0 commissions and $0 lender fees, and you can apply 100 percent online. What’s more, you can get a pre-approval letter in as little as three minutes, which shows sellers you’re a serious buyer.

Better Mortgage’s expert team will guide you through every step. Plus, Better Mortgage offers FHA loans for buyers with lower credit scores and less money saved for a down payment.

Once you've found your perfect home, Better Mortgage can help you learn more about home financing options.

DO THIS: Find a quick financing partner that can save you money—like Better Mortgage! Thanks to Better, the future of homebuying is here.      

Learn more about securing simple, faster, more affordable home financing from Better Mortgage.

Click here for ideas on beautifying your new home.

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