Here are five ways you can prepare to ensure a smooth transaction.

Are you thinking about buying a new home? Whether it’s six months to a year away or even further down the road, it’s never too early to start preparing for your move. Waiting until the last minute can lead to unnecessary stress and complications. Here are some key steps you can take in advance to make your home purchase a smoother and more informed process:

1. Consult a lender early. One of the first things you should do is talk to a lender. By discussing your financial situation with a lender, you can gain valuable insights into the kind of home loan you might qualify for. This will help you determine a realistic price range for your future home. Lenders can also advise you on any necessary financial adjustments, such as tax filing strategies, to improve your loan eligibility. Planning ahead allows you to make these adjustments well in advance, sometimes a year or more before your intended purchase.

2. Consider the area first. Before you start searching for specific houses, focus on the area you want to move to. The quality of your investment and your overall satisfaction with your new home will depend significantly on the location. Consider factors like schools, proximity to amenities, and your specific needs. For example, families with children may prioritize school districts, while empty nesters might be looking for a city lifestyle. Investing time in understanding the area early on will help you make an informed decision about the community you want to be a part of.

“Early planning is the key to a successful and stress-free experience.”

3. Investigate potential issues. When considering an area, don’t forget to research potential concerns. One of the most critical considerations, especially in flood-prone regions such as Houston, is flooding. There are two types to be aware of: the well-known 100-year floodplain and flash flooding. The latter occurs during heavy downpours, where water accumulates quickly and can seep into homes. To find out about flash flooding, talk to current residents in the area and ask about their experiences during events like Hurricane Harvey. This information can be invaluable when choosing your new neighborhood.

4. Explore school options. If schools are an important factor in your move, start early by reaching out to current residents and friends in the area. They may be aware of schools that aren’t widely known but are excellent choices. By engaging with the community, you might uncover hidden gems that meet the educational priorities for your family.

5. Plan for unpredictables. Finally, keep in mind that there are factors you can’t fully control or predict. Two significant ones are interest rates and market conditions. Interest rates can fluctuate, affecting the cost of your mortgage, and market conditions can change rapidly. To mitigate these uncertainties, start your planning well in advance so you have flexibility in choosing the right time to purchase.

In addition to these steps, take the time to drive through the neighborhoods you’re considering. Exploring the streets and interacting with the locals will provide you with valuable insights and help you make a more informed decision about your future home. By following these steps, you’ll be well-prepared for your upcoming move. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to reach out by phone or email.