In order to end up with a great house in a great neighbourhood, there are a couple of things to consider before you begin house hunting. This will help to smoothen out the house hunting process for you.
Know the Market a Little
Try to spend some time getting to know the market a little. You should not be completely ignorant about what the house hunting process entails to avoid being cheated. Browse real estate listings, familiarize yourself with the different neighbourhoods you are considering, ask around for recommendations on good real estate agents or consultancies, talk to friends, family and even co-workers to get to know about some of their house hunting knowledge and experiences etc. Try to get as much information as you can about the house hunting process beforehand. Some real estate consultancies to consider include Propertymart, WhiteBricks, Elegant Court etc.
Find a Good Agent
A good real estate agent or realtor is hard to find, but you are going to have to work to search them out. A good agent is someone who knows the market well, is knowledgeable about the area you are interested in and can point out problems with potential homes. Once you can get a good agent that knows their stuff and is able to get you a great house, it makes the house hunting process much easier. One of the best ways to get a good agent is through recommendations from family and friends. You can also go to trusted real estate consultancies for some help.
Stick to Your Budget
It's not enough to just have a budget; you need to be able to stick to it. Consider your monthly cash flow and figure out the amount of money that you can conveniently devote to housing payments (the key word here is conveniently). A general rule to guide you is that the money you set aside monthly for house payments should not be higher than 25 - 30% of your monthly income.
Have a Sizeable Leftover
You would think many would know this, but there is an alarming number of people that spend almost the entirety of their income on buying or renting a new house. No matter what, this should never be done. Houses need constant maintenance, and even after buying the house there are still one or two unforeseen expenses you might need to make, you therefore should avoid putting everything down on a house. Ensure you have a sizeable leftover, that can act as a sort of emergency fund and that can be enough for your general upkeep.
Choose a Location
Well, this is obvious, however it's not just about choosing a location but the factors you consider when choosing this location. Unfortunately, a lot of people are ignorant of the vital factors to consider when searching for a house and end up choosing a great looking house in a terrible location. You should consider if you feel safe in the area (not just if the agent tells you the area is safe). Do your own research about the area, ask around. Consider the traffic situation around the area, especially during rush hour. Also, consider if there is likely going to be noise disturbances from any source that is beyond what you can handle. In addition, take note of how clean and well-kept the neighborhood is. Are you likely to be dealing with typhoid issues when living there because of the dirty water etc.?