Buying a Home April 10, 2024

Navigating the Home Buying Journey: Mortgage Tips for the Self-Employed

As the economy rapidly expands and more professionals opt for self-employment, the traditional path to homeownership continues to have unique obstacles for this growing demographic. Navigating the mortgage landscape can be daunting for the self-employed, who often endure additional scrutiny and documentation requirements compared to their W-2 counterparts. 

In this guide, self-employed home seekers will find the navigation tools they need to navigate the intricacies of home loan application processes. The information within will demystify the steps required to secure a mortgage and offer proactive strategies to increase the chances of mortgage approval.

Understanding the Self-Employed Mortgage Landscape

Self-employed individuals often face more stringent requirements than their salaried counterparts when applying for a mortgage. You might be asked to provide several years of tax returns, business financials, and other documentation to help lenders understand your financial stability and loan repayment ability. The key is to prepare early and thoroughly.

Tips to Help you on Your Path to Pre-approval

  1. Lower your income-to-debt ratio. While a high income is excellent, your debt-to-income ratio is more important to lenders. This percentage of your gross monthly income goes towards debts like credit cards, car loans, and your potential mortgage payment. The lower this number, the better your chance of being approved for a loan. To lower your debt-to-income ratio, make extra monthly payments on your existing debts or consider paying off some debts altogether.
  2. Keep your personal and business accounts separate. Separate accounts will make it easier for lenders to see a clear picture of your finances. Plus, it’ll help you stay organized come tax time.
  3. Document everything. When you’re self-employed, lenders will want to see a two-year history of your business income. Be sure to keep detailed records of your revenue and expenses. These documents could include tax returns, profit and loss statements, and bank statements.
  4. Deduct less on your taxes. When you’re self-employed, you can deduct several business expenses from your taxes. But when it comes to qualifying for a mortgage, it’s best to minimize your deductions. Less deductions will result in a higher taxable income, making you look more appealing to lenders.
  5. Register and pay yourself on a W-2 form. If you’re incorporated, lenders may require that you document your income with a W-2 form. A W-2 is the same form used to report wages for traditional employees. To get a W-2 form, you must register your business with the IRS and pay yourself a salary.
  6. Work with a lender who specializes in loans for self-employed borrowers. You may have to shop around to find a lender who understands the unique challenges of financing a home when you’re self-employed. But it’s worth it to find someone who can help you navigate the process and get the best loan terms possible.

Securing a mortgage as a self-employed individual is a challenge worth pursuing. It represents the attainment of a major life goal and the building of wealth through property ownership. By meticulously preparing your financials, leveraging your unique position, seeking professional guidance, and remaining patient, the goal of homeownership can be entirely within reach. Remember, the right mortgage is not just about rates and terms. It’s about finding a financial institution that understands and values the hard work and innovation that embody the self-employed ethos. With these tips, you are well on your way to turning the key to your front door.

When you are ready to buy a home, we would love to put our experience to work for you and help you navigate the homeownership process. Contact us at 928-830-6976.

Buying a Home March 6, 2024

Owning a Home – The American Dream

For many, the phrase ‘American Dream’ conjures a quintessential image of a white picket fence surrounding a beautiful home, symbolizing the pinnacle of personal accomplishment and financial security. The truth is that owning a home is a profoundly cherished ideal in America. It’s a significant milestone and an emotional investment that often defines one’s sense of stability and roots. 

But how do you turn this iconic imagery into reality? 

This guide dives into the intricate steps of owning a home in America, offering exhaustive resources for understanding the processes and navigating the challenges to turn your homeownership dreams into tangible results.

Where Do I Start?

There is a list of questions to get you started when you decide to buy a home.

  • How much space do you need?
  • Will this be a short-term starter home or a “forever” home?
  • What is your ideal commute?
  • How much can you spend?
  • Which neighborhood?
  • Do you need to evaluate nearby schools?

Understanding Home Affordability

Determining what you can afford is a crucial first step. Various online calculators and financial advisors can help you assess your budget. Homeownership goes beyond the purchase price; you must factor in insurance, maintenance, and taxes.

Establishing a Realistic Budget

Create a budget that considers down payment, closing costs, monthly mortgage payments, and day-to-day expenses. The goal is to strike a balance that doesn’t compromise your financial well-being.

Saving for a Down Payment

Saving for a down payment doesn’t have to be daunting. There are multiple tips to help you:

  • Automatic Savings: Business Insider suggests direct depositing a percentage of your paycheck into a savings account set aside for your down payment. They state that “the automatic-savings strategy makes it so you don’t have to remember to save money constantly.”
  • Learn where your money goes:  Monitor your current spending to determine where you can trim the fat from your budget.
  • Create a Goal: Talk to an agent or lender to determine how much you need to save and work towards that goal.

The Mortgage Application Process

Securing a mortgage is often the most daunting aspect of buying a home. Understanding the intricacies of the financing process is essential to finding the right mortgage for your situation.

Apply for a Mortgage

Navigating the application and approval process is complex. It involves credit checks, employment verification, and a thorough financial assessment. Be prepared to supply documents that prove your ability to repay the loan.

Lenders will examine multiple factors, including your credit history, to determine how much you can borrow. They will look at your history of paying and managing your car loans, student loans, credit cards, and other debts.

Freddie Mac states to determine what you can afford, “you should spend no more than 28% of your monthly gross (pre-tax) income on your mortgage payment, including principal, interest, taxes and insurance.” 

Negotiating Tips

Understand what is negotiable and strategic in your approach. An experienced real estate agent can provide valuable insights and ensure your offer stands out.

Familiarize yourself with the legal aspects of an offer. Understanding contingencies and timelines can save time and prevent headaches.

Owning a home in America is indisputably a core pillar of the American dream. It is a significant investment that goes beyond financial returns, offering a sense of identity and community.  Patience, diligence, and a supportive team are your best companions in this noble endeavor. If you plan to buy a home, I encourage you to seek help. When it comes to buying a home, knowledge is power! I am very familiar with the market and trends in selling and purchasing properties in the Quad Cities area.  Call me at (928) 830-6976!

Homeownership February 7, 2024

Smart Ways Homeowners Can Cut Cooling and Heating Costs

If one household expense can leave you hot under the collar or chilled to the bone, it’s the cost of keeping your home at a comfortable temperature. Air conditioning and heating costs are a significant part of your utility bills, but they don’t have to break the bank. Whether you want to save money or make your home more comfortable, you can employ several smart strategies to keep your HVAC system running efficiently.

1. Programmable Thermostat:  Installing a programmable thermostat can help you save money on your heating and cooling bills by allowing you to set specific temperatures for different times of the day. For example, you can select the temperature to lower when you are asleep or out of the house and rise when you are home and awake. You may want to consider a Smart thermostat. With advanced features like learning capabilities and remote access, these devices are designed to optimize your HVAC system’s performance and lower energy bills. Use your smartphone to adjust your home’s temperature from anywhere, ensuring you never waste energy heating or cooling an empty house. Some smart thermostats even geofence your area, automatically adjusting the temperature based on your proximity to home.

2. Seal Those Leaks: On average, heating and cooling account for almost half of a home’s energy consumption. One way to reduce energy loss and save money on your heating or cooling bills is to weatherstrip your doors and windows. Weatherstrip will help to keep the cool or warm air inside your home and prevent it from escaping. (Tip: Take simple steps like caulking windows, sealing leaks around chimneys and recessed lighting, and sliding draft guards under your doors to save up to 20% on heating costs.) The minor leaks can be equivalent to leaving open a 3-foot-by-3-foot window.

3. Change Your Air Filters Regularly: Like any other mechanical system, your HVAC unit needs regular maintenance to operate at its best. Neglecting maintenance can lead to decreased efficiency, higher energy costs, and a shorter lifespan for your system. One of the simplest yet most effective maintenance tasks is regularly changing your air filters. Clogged filters can restrict airflow, making your system work harder to push air through and lowering efficiency.

4. Utilize Ceiling Fans:  Proper airflow is essential for maintaining a comfortable indoor environment. Ceiling fans, box fans, and window fans can all help circulate air, making a home feel cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter without significantly increasing energy use. Run your ceiling fans counterclockwise in the summer to create a breeze that makes the room feel cooler. In the winter, reverse the direction to circulate warm air that’s risen to the ceiling back down to the living space. Running fans in rooms that are occupied can allow you to set your thermostat a few degrees higher in the summer and lower in the winter. This can provide significant energy savings without sacrificing comfort.

5. Be Mindful of Your Lighting: In the winter, take advantage of natural daylight by opening blinds and curtains during the day. In the summer, do the opposite and close them to keep the heat out. And no matter what time of year it is, use energy-efficient lighting whenever possible. LEDs are a great example of how innovation and technology can make your life easier. They last 25 times longer and consume up to 90 percent less electricity than incandescent bulbs. (Tip: By switching five of your home’s most frequently used bulbs with ENERGY STAR® certified LEDs, it’s possible to save $75 on energy costs annually.)

By making a few upgrades to your home, you’ll save on your utility bills and improve your home’s energy efficiency. When you’re ready to sell your house, these key features will make it even more attractive to potential buyers. Contact the Plane Team at (928) 830-6976 when you are ready to discuss what buyers are looking for regarding energy efficiency options in our area.


Buying a Home January 11, 2024

WARNING Inspect Lipstick Flips Before Buying

It is hard to miss all of the Flip/House Makeover shows on television.  Some transformations are incredible, but some seem ‘too good to be true.’  Okay, maybe they are ‘true,’ but are the makeovers good enough to last long-term?

When inventory is tight and newly renovated homes are wooing prospective buyers, you must take a step back and remember that the home you’re hunting for is a long-term investment. While futuristic appliances and gleaming hardwood floors may seduce you into making a quick offer, understand there’s much more to a home than what lies on the surface.

Investors who renovate homes want to maximize their profit as quickly as possible. While many are upstanding, others will cut corners to boost their return. Sometimes, an investor will do a “lipstick flip” on a home renovation. This flip type means fixing up what’s cosmetic and leaving the rest as-is. Paint, flooring, appliances, fixtures –all may get a tune-up. But this doesn’t necessarily consider foundation issues, leaks, plumbing problems, and work performed without permits.

Foundational and mechanical problems are a significant concern, but I want to caution buyers that cosmetic changes must be inspected for quality. A new DIY floor that is installed quickly may present problems. 

Just look at the products’ quality and the renovation details before getting ‘wowed’ by the fresh new paint.

Once buyers close on a home, they’re responsible for the home. This includes issues that may be costly to repair or unsafe for habitation. You must take the necessary steps to protect yourself before signing off. Here are some tips to prevent the headache and heartache of a bad “lipstick flip”:

  • Do not waive the inspection. In addition to the usual areas, inspect exposed wiring in the attic and mold. Include a termite inspection.
  • Ask for a complete list of all work done with receipts for the work. 
  • For all work done, make sure the seller used a licensed contractor.
  • Ensure the work on the home passed inspection and is up to code. Request a copy of the certificate of occupancy.
  • Ask the seller for a current disclosure statement, as required by law.

If the seller balks at these requests, it may be necessary to pass on the home. If issues arise during the inspection, you may change your mind about the house or negotiate for repairs or closing credits, depending on your agent’s advice.

Don’t worry; not all flipped homes are money pits. Prescott has many beautiful homes to offer. As a trusted real estate advisor, I like to ensure my clients don’t get burned! Let us use our years of experience and help you look for your next home (928) 830-6976.

Buying a Home December 11, 2023

How Property Taxes Can Impact Your Mortgage Payment

When you become a homeowner, you are also responsible for paying property taxes. These taxes can take a significant chunk out of your finances, and it’s essential to understand their impact on your mortgage payment. Property tax is a recurring expense and can affect the affordability of your home, especially if you’re purchasing in an area where rates are high. 


When applying for a mortgage, you’ll see one of two acronyms in your paperwork, P&I or PITI, depending on whether you include your taxes in your mortgage payment.


P&I stands for Principal and Interest, and both are parts of your monthly mortgage payment that go toward paying off the loan you borrow. PITI stands for Principal, Interest, Taxes, and Insurance. Taxes and Insurance can be included in your payment, although, sometimes, you can elect to pay those items directly. Either way, they are all important factors to calculate when you want to determine the cost of your new home.


Understanding Property Taxes


Before diving into how property taxes affect your mortgage payments, it’s vital to understand the basics of property tax. Property taxes are a form of tax paid on real estate by landowners. Local governments use property tax to fund their services and operations, such as schools, hospitals, and services like garbage collection. The amount of property tax you pay can vary depending on your property’s assessed value and your area’s tax rate.


Including Property Taxes in Your Mortgage Payments


When you buy a home, you’ll have a mortgage. In most cases, you are required to make an additional monthly payment toward property taxes. The mortgage company holds the taxes in a separate account called an escrow account. When property taxes are due, your lender will use the money held in escrow to make payments on your behalf.


Tax Hikes and Your Monthly Payments


Property tax rates are not fixed and will change over time. Governments and local councils have the power to increase property tax rates, which can significantly impact your mortgage payment. It’s essential to be aware of any expected property tax increases and consider them when budgeting for your mortgage.


Yavapai County Tax

We are fortunate in Yavapai County to have a user-friendly online system to look up the property taxes for individual properties. If you are considering a house and want to look up the amount of past property tax, enter the property address on the Yavapai County Interactive Map.  Once you have the address displayed, select ‘Taxes’ from the right-hand column and view the taxes for the past five years. The Yavapai GIS System also shows assessed values and the amount of previous sales.


Purchasing a home is a significant investment, and it’s essential to understand all expenses you will incur, including property taxes. Property taxes can significantly impact your mortgage payment, and it’s essential to factor them into your home-buying plans. 

Dena and Dave Plane

(928) 830-6976

The Prescott Area November 15, 2023

Prescott is Home to Incredible Bakeries!

Prescott, Arizona, is home to some of the finest bakeries in the country. Whether you live here or are just visiting, it’s worth taking time out of your day to explore what these local spots have to offer. With each bakery boasting something different – from specialty baked goods and cakes for any occasion – there’s something for everyone in Prescott! So, get ready for a sugar-filled visit as we journey through some of the top bakeries around town that will make even the pickiest sweet tooth happy.

Olde World Bakery

220 West Goodwin St. Suite 1, Prescott, AZ
(928) 237-3695

Family-owned bakery that specializes in pastries, sandwiches, soups and salads. Olde World Bakery does not have a fryer. We forego the donut fad to offer delicate, flaky croissants, giant cinnamon rolls, hearty muffins, buttery golden scones, coconut macaroons, and cookies galore. Also in our repertoire: strudels, cupcakes, pies, bars and various other treats, both sweet and savory offered throughout the year. Come have lunch and a treat paired with Prescott-local coffee and enjoy our free wifi in our large, comfortable sitting area or our gorgeous (dog friendly) patio!

Friendly, Fast, Delicious! Wow! First visit and I’m blown away by this wonderfully quaint bakery. I ordered the Tuna Melt, but sans having it melted. The flavors are amazing. My taste buds are so happy. The sandwich is huge, enough for two people. Daniel, owner is super friendly and helpful. Please support this local bakery. Small indoor dining area and nice outside patio with umbrellas. Parking garage right next door. Great location, walking distance to everything in town in Prescott.

 The Prescott Breadery

713 West Rosser St, Prescott

(928) 927-6715

We bake to order just for you! We are your Personal Bakers! You text or call in to let us know what you would like, what time and day you would like to pick up or have your yumminess delivered. We bake 7 day a week. Same day orders are welcome! We bake from our home at 713 West Rosser Street in Prescott and are licensed by the State as a Cottage Industry business through the Home Baked Goods Program and follow all applicable laws and regulations. We bake to order so your goodies are fresh from the oven, Breads, Cinnamon Rolls and Scones are most often hot or at minimum still warm when you pick up! We are not a storefront so please call ahead, text or PM The Prescott Breadery on Facebook. You are welcome to drop by to get a paper menu also. We welcome all orders! Large and small events too! Weddings, Birthdays any occasion or dessert for a dinner party!

 “I ordered a custom cake and only showed a photo from one I saw on Pinterest. It was done perfectly. The inside was marble swirl cake with a coffee filling. Moist and beautiful. I also ordered some blueberry and maple scones. Those were DELICIOUS!!! Husband and wife who bake out of there home. This is the only bakery I will use in Prescott. Hands down.” – Norma Harding

Berry’s Pie Pantry

230 N Virginia St Prescott

(928) 778-0511

About Berry’s Pie Pantry

Rustic eatery serving old-school American comfort mains & desserts, including breakfast.

16 Varieties of Home Made Pie, Home Cooked Meals Made From Scratch Daily .

Established in 1986, Berry’s Pie Pantry is located at 230 N Virginia St in Prescott, AZ – Yavapai County and is a business specialized in American, American Food and American Restaurant. Berry’s Pie Pantry is listed in the categories Bakeries, Bakers, Restaurants, Retail Bakeries, Eating Places, Full-Service Restaurants, Limited-Service Restaurants and Restaurants/Food & Dining and offers Luncheon, BREAKFAST & LUNCH, Salads, Sandwiches, Soups, Ensalada, Insalata, Pies, OMELET etc. After you do business with Berry’s Pie Pantry, please leave a review to help other people and improve hubbiz. Also, don’t forget to mention Hubbiz to Berry’s Pie Pantry.

 “I didn’t get any pictures before I ate the pie…but dang!!! That pie was awesome!! Was my first time there and got there later in the day so the options were limited. I really wanted to try the rhubarb pie, but it was out. I got Dutch apple pie and regular apple pie and both were AMAZING! Highly recommended if you love pie.”  — Vincent

Dave and I love everything Prescott! If you are new to Prescott and need information about our beautiful town – or have been here a while and want to find new things – let us know. We love to talk ‘Prescott’!


Dena & Dave Plane

(928) 308-6976

Homeownership October 11, 2023

How to Lower Your Heating Bill

Prescott, Arizona, covered in a blanket of snow, is breathtaking! Match that with Christmas lights, making it the most magical time of year. You may notice an unwelcome increase in your heating bill with the temperature drop. Here are some tips on how to lower your heating bill and still stay cozy this winter:

  1. Weather Stripping: The most critical and common step in lowering your heating bill is ensuring no gaps around doors or windows. The best way to do this is by weather stripping. Weather stripping creates a barrier between the cold outdoors and will help keep your house warm.
  2. Cover Your Water Heater:  Insulating your water heater can reduce the energy it takes to heat the water and save you money. The water heater blanket is approximately $20 – $40 at most hardware stores and can be installed in an afternoon or less.
  3. Turn Down Your Water Heater Temperature: Consider dropping your temperature from 140F/60C to a safe but reasonable 120F/49C. The lower temperature will help reduce the energy used to heat the water while providing enough hot water for everyday needs.
  4. Invest in a Programmable Thermostat: Set your thermostat lower than usual during the day when no one is home, then raise it closer to what you find comfortable when people are present. Regulating the temperature will save money on energy bills without having a noticeable impact on comfort levels.
  5. Swap Out Your Furnace Filters:  Dirty filters block air from freely moving through your system, making it work harder and use more energy. Replacing the filters every 60 days will help promote better airflow throughout your home and save you money in the long run. 
  6. Change Your Curtains: Use thicker curtains to help keep out the cold winter air. This simple addition can make a big difference!
  7. Service Your Furnace: Annual maintenance on your furnace can help catch any minor problems before they become more prominent, more expensive issues. It will also ensure the unit is running efficiently and not wasting energy.

Following these simple tips, you can stay warm this winter while keeping your heating bill low. With a little effort and just a few dollars, you can quickly reduce your heating costs and enjoy the winter months without worry. Remember, wearing extra layers around the house is essential to staying warm! Have some cozy sweaters, fluffy socks, and warm blankets handy to keep everyone comfortable as temperatures drop. Enjoy Prescott’s beauty while having peace of mind, knowing you’re doing all you can to save money this winter. Happy Holidays!  

Call us for your real estate needs!

Dena and Dave Plane

(928) 830-6976

Home Protection September 5, 2023

Smartphone Tips To Keep You Safe

4 Mobile Phone Safety Tips

The convenience of mobile devices also comes with risk. As you check in, text, share photos, and increasingly run your life on the go, you may inadvertently expose private information or make yourself more likely to be a victim of a crime. Here are four things you should be aware of as you use new mobile and social technology that might spare you expensive or embarrassing lessons:

1. Beware of how often you “check in” through social media.

Apps like Foursquare and websites like Facebook allow you to “check in” when you’re out and about, effectively broadcasting where you are… and where you’re not. Be especially sensitive to checking in from airports and locations far from home. Enterprising thieves can use this information to target your home or business.

2. Beware of the photos you’re sharing.

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, what are your pictures on Facebook saying to friends, family, and co-workers? Just like checking in when you’re out of town, vacation photos posted in real time can inadvertently let people know you’re not home. 

3. Remember to log out of public computers

If you’ve ever checked your email in an internet cafe or hotel computer, did you remember to log out? Closing a browser window isn’t usually enough. People who open the browser can often waltz into your email account because your “session” is still active. Remember to click “log out” or “exit my account” when logging into private accounts through public machines.

4. Protect your devices

Smartphones now carry the sort of data you used to keep under lock and key in your home office or closet safe. If your devices are lost or stolen, how much of your private information could be exposed through your device? 

First and foremost, add password protection to your device in case it is lost. Most have a setting you can activate, forcing someone to enter a code before accessing the apps and data on the device.

Second, consider adding an app or service to track your device via GPS if lost or stolen. Depending on your device, many options exist to help locate your smartphone if it disappears. To find an app specific to your device, try Googling (without quotation marks): “app tracks stolen [device name]” where [device name] is replaced with your brand of smartphone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry, etc.).

Now that you have several tips to keep your mobile phone data safe, it is essential to remember that your online security and privacy should always be a top priority. As technology evolves, so do the steps to protect yourself. Remembering these steps while using your mobile phone will help you keep you safe. And if you ever need tips or advice about real estate – don’t hesitate to give me a call – I’m always happy to help!  Dena and Dave Plane (928) 830-6976

The Prescott Area August 8, 2023

Non-Profit Spotlight: Agape House of Prescott

Homeless Services in Prescott

Families who find themselves in economic despair, and living in crisis, find hope at The Agape House of Prescott. Agape House is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that provides long-term transitional housing for families without a residence. They work to rebuild and transform families’ lives and prepare them for an independent and self-sustained future.

The face of people experiencing homelessness is not who you may think. They are families living on friends’ couches, in the forest, in parking lots, and trying to manage a family while living in a car. They may be students, waiters/waitresses, or workers at Thrift Stores, Grocery Stores, and Construction sites.

As a Christ-based nonprofit, Agape House helps families rebuild and transform their lives through love, support, training, prayer, and the security of having a home. Agape House is not a shelter but a place to call home—an interim place to raise their family, rebuild relationships, and prepare for independence.

About the Agape Program

Agape House journeys with the families every step of the way during the rebuilding and transforming process. The Pathway to Independence gives families a place to call home. The support system is a four-phase stability, personal wellness, life skills training, and sustainability program. Their full-time mentors lead a team of 60+ volunteers that continually support the families by mentoring, coaching, and building relationships so that the families can thrive and succeed.

“Impact on Homeless Families: The partnership between United Way of Yavapai County and Agape House has resulted in life-changing outcomes for numerous homeless families. By providing families with their own apartments, Agape House creates a stable and secure environment, promoting a sense of belonging and ownership. This contributes to a positive shift in their mindset, fostering a greater sense of hope and determination.” – United Way of Yavapai County

 Agapeville Apartments

As Prescott’s only family-inclusive interim housing community, Agape House needed a permanent facility where families could find safety, stability, transitional housing, and support as they work to rebuild their lives. Agape House was able to make that need a reality. Recently, the Agape House purchased a nine-unit apartment complex near downtown Prescott. The apartments not only provide a secure place to call home, but they also offer a community of support. Families help families, mentors have a central location to meet with the families, and kids have a place to play and be kids. For many of the children, this is the first home that they have ever had.

Celebrating 10 Years!

Agape House of Prescott is Celebrating ten years of rebuilding the lives of families in Prescott. In the past ten years, Agape House has worked hard to provide more than 40 families (146 individuals) 32,513 nights to call home. 

Read more about Agape House Here

Buying a Home July 12, 2023

Top Home Searching Tips

In today’s housing market, low inventory dominates many conversations in Prescott and many areas of the country. With less inventory available, this increases the need for preparation for homebuyers when a house becomes available. Without preparation, you may miss out on a great opportunity. To help out, we have summarized five tips from’s article“How to Find Your Dream Home—Without Losing Your Mind.”

1. Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Before You Start Your Search

One way to show you’re serious about buying your dream home is to get pre-qualified or pre-approved for a mortgage. Even if you’re in a market that is not as competitive, understanding your budget will give you the confidence to know whether or not your dream home is within your reach. Being pre-approved will help you avoid the disappointment of falling in love with a home well outside your price range.


2. Know the Difference Between Your ‘Must-Haves’ and ‘Would-Like-To-Haves’

Do you need a large kitchen island to be happy with your home choice? Would a three-car garage be a convenience or a necessity? Before you search, list all the features of a home you would like. Qualify them as ‘must-haves,’ ‘should-haves,’ or ‘absolute-wish list’ items. Taking time to recognize your priorities at this point in the process will help you stay focused on what’s most important.

3. Research and Choose a Neighborhood Where You Want to Live

Every neighborhood has a unique charm. Before you commit to a home based solely on the house itself, take a test drive of the area. Make sure it meets your needs for included amenities, how far is the commute to work or school, look at the school district, check out the neighborhood noise, and survey the traffic. 


4. Pick a House Style You Love and Stick to It

Evaluate your family’s needs and settle on a style of home that will best serve those needs. Just because you’ve narrowed your search to a zip code doesn’t mean you must tour every nearby listing. For example, if you need all your bedrooms on the same level, avoid two-story homes that don’t meet those criteria. If you don’t want to spend time working in a yard, avoid touring homes with large yards and high maintenance. 

5. Document Your Home Visits

Once you start touring homes, the features of each home will begin to blur together. Having a journal or notebook to organize your thoughts and comments for each house would be helpful. Keep your camera handy and make notes to document what you love and don’t love about each property you visit.

Being prepared is your best advantage. Get your ‘must-haves’ and ‘must-nots’ ironed out, check with the mortgage company, and of course, enlist the help of a realtor (like me) to research homes that meet your criteria.  

When you are ready to start searching for a home, call me, and I will put my resources to work.


Dena and Dave Plane

(928) 830-6976