Tips For Finding Your Dream Home

Shot of a family of four viewing their new home together


Purchasing a home is an exciting and life-changing decision but can also be overwhelming and stressful. You may already have an idea of how many bedrooms and bathrooms you would like. But how do you find the perfect home for you and your family? 


You don’t have to look at all the open houses in your area or browse the listings for beautiful homes. Starved Rock Realty is here to help in your home-buying journey!


Home Searching Tips


Before searching for homes, get pre-approval from your mortgage lender. A pre-approval allows you to narrow your search and search for other criteria that match your needs. Pre-approval letters will tell you the maximum loan amount you can borrow, instantly letting you know your maximum price range and budget. Once you have an idea of what your loan amount is, you can start looking for homes within your price range.


Think Ahead

Smaller homes won’t fit larger families adequately, so if you plan on growing your family soon, plan ahead and make sure you have enough space. Ample space also applies if you work remotely or plan to do so once you move. Having an additional room you can convert into a home office will be beneficial. You can always move into a larger house later if you decide to sell.



What are the most important things you must have in your dream home? These are the things you should write down and keep on your list. Is a garage essential? Are you looking for a walk-in closet in the primary bedroom? You want to ensure your list is manageable to find properties that meet your criteria. Sticking to your list will help you avoid “list creep,” where potential buyers are drawn to sparkly objects when touring homes and decide they want those items. 


Check Out the Neighborhood

It’s possible to love a house but not like its location. Look around the neighborhood and note the positive and negative things that catch your attention, such as a park across the street or limited parking. It’s essential you love the home and its neighborhood!


Favorite Room

What room is your favorite in your current home? The kitchen is likely your top choice if you’re a budding home chef or your family uses it as a gathering space. To ensure you get your dream kitchen, you may be willing to compromise on certain things in return for a spacious kitchen with many extra features. A den could be an excellent option if you like to curl up with a book and read on the couch. Be willing to bargain on some things (unless they made your non-negotiable list).


Renovate or Move-In Ready

Buyers know whether they want a house they can renovate or one that is move-in ready. If you’re leaning toward move-in ready, You can browse homes at the high end of your price point. However, searching for homes slightly lower than your budget is best if you plan to renovate, as it will leave you money for desired upgrades.


Stick to Your Budget

Staying within budget is the most important thing when searching for your dream home. It is easy to get distracted by homes out of your price range and fall in love with homes you can’t afford, while houses within your budget won’t get a second glance. Be realistic about what you can afford, and stay within that range. Starved Rock Realty can help you find your dream home within your budget!


Document Walkthroughs

Each home’s features can blend together when viewing multiple properties, making it difficult to identify which house has what features. Take a quick photo of the sign at the front of the house and get some pictures of the areas you enjoyed. Perhaps the back porch has a breathtaking view, or the pantry had storage for days; capture whatever elements you love about each home.


Top Three

When looking for the perfect home, it is easy to get distracted by the listings. You’ll soon have a list of 10 houses you like, each for different reasons. Have the mindset that a home is one of the top three or it’s not on your list. It will prevent you from getting overwhelmed by the number of options.


Stop Looking

When you find your dream home, stop looking! Buyers like to continue looking at listings after an offer has been accepted, expecting something better to be on the market. Be confident that you made the right decision when buying your new home!


Your Local Real Estate Experts

Don’t just change your address – change your lifestyle! With over 25 years of experience, Starved Rock Realty has the knowledge and experience you’re looking for when buying or selling a home. We pride ourselves on providing exemplary customer service, impeccable knowledge of our local area, and the current conditions of the market.   


To learn more about how Starved Rock Realty can help with your real estate needs, visit our website or call us at 815-667-9990!