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Top Tools for Today’s House Hunters

Mary Ellen Vanaken

Mary Ellen was born and raised in Long Island, New York. After graduating from college, she worked on Wall Street for JP Morgan in New York City...

Mary Ellen was born and raised in Long Island, New York. After graduating from college, she worked on Wall Street for JP Morgan in New York City...

Jul 21 5 minutes read

Did the pandemic or its aftermath derail your house-hunting plans? You might be surprised to learn that in some ways, this is a favorable time to buy. Real estate is reinventing itself to accommodate home buyers and sellers safely, and with interest rates low, now could be your best bet. If you’re thinking of buying or building a home, set yourself up for success with some handy tools and strategies, courtesy of the Mary Ellen Vanaken Team


Knowing What to Expect

Getting familiar with what to expect of the home buying or building process will definitely help you make good decisions for you and your family. A combination of online tools and expert advice can get you started. 

● How much home can you afford? Use an online calculator to estimate your budget based on factors like your income, down payment, and debt to help you make practical choices so you don’t get in over your head. 

● If you are looking to buy, an experienced real estate agent like Mary Ellen Vanaken will know the local market, inside and out, and can guide you through the home buying process. 

● If you want to build, contact an experienced custom home builder who can walk you through what you can and cannot do when building a home. It’s important to do your homework before choosing a builder, and that includes asking for past customer references. Questions to ask those homeowners include: Are you happy with your home? If you had any problems, were they fixed promptly and properly? Would you buy another home from this builder?


Familiar Ground

While real estate is shifting how it conducts certain processes, some things are business as usual. The biggest part of that is preparing a house for sale, as the same smart strategies apply. If you need to sell your current home in order to buy or build your dream home, start here. 

● Ensure your home is move-in ready by completing any lingering repairs. If an item will likely be checked as needing repair on the home inspection, it’s time to fix it, especially if it’s electrical, plumbing, the roof or HVAC. 

● Is your home’s exterior looking a little shabby these days? If so, choose a fresh coat of paint in a color that will help it sell. 

Decluttering your home makes it easier for buyers to envision living in the space. It also frees up space to make rooms appear larger. If necessary, rent an offsite storage unit to store unneeded belongings as the home is being shown.

● To make your property more competitive, Bob Vila recommends making small improvements buyers will love. 


Find the “One”

 In this market, your home is sure to sell fast with proper preparations, so it’s wise to begin your hunt for your new home early. If you’re buying, this involves negotiations, closing and moving. If you’re building, the process may be even longer, as you need to find a lot, approve your home’s plans, and finish out the build. Fortunately, there are ways to safely speed up the process. 

● Some builders have an inventory of ready-to-build lots in established communities, which can speed up the building process. 

● Virtual closings, conducted over Zoom or another online service, are now a possibility for many home buyers. 

● Moving companies are taking measures to protect you, their employees, and your belongings. 

● Finding reputable moving professionals near you has never been easier thanks to online service directories like Angi. 


As we exit the pandemic, the real estate industry has responded in a manner that allows buyers and sellers to stay safe. Explore the tools and strategies outlined here that will help you along. Soon, you’ll be in that new home you’re dreaming about!


Real estate professionals at the Mary Ellen Vanaken Team are able to help you find the best value your money can buy, from starter homes, to condominiums, to investment properties, to large estates. Contact us today!               (770) 663-7291

 Image Via Pinterest. Article Via Jackie Waters with Hyper-Tidy

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