We Believe Perfect Is Possible: Find Your Dream Home With These Four Tips for Savvy Buyers

Are you ready for your dream home? Finding your forever home is a real possibility! The key to this process is to put in a little effort for your search before you contact a real estate agent.

Our four tips for savvy buyers will help make the perfect possible when searching for your dream home.

1. Prioritize Your Must-Haves

What do you need to have in your home? Is it an open floor plan? Five bedrooms? A large kitchen? An attached shop area for handiwork? The possibilities are endless when you search through our listings. Our team also has homes listed on Zillow. But we can act as a buyer’s agent to purchase any home that’s on the market, not just the ones we are listing.

Zillow has an awesome search tool that lets you customize your search. Discover some of the great features you can search for when finding your dream home for sale on Zillow beyond the ordinary metrics of price, size, and bedrooms/bathrooms:

  • Which homes have tours
  • Garage or not
  • Lot size (when looking for acreage)
  • Year built
  • Basement or not
  • Number of stories
  • Pool
  • Waterfront
  • Central HVAC
  • Views of the city, mountains, water, or park
  • Number of days on Zillow


You can also put in search keywords to further refine looking for your dream home. For example, if you need a pet-free home, you can search for whether the previous owners had cats or dogs. 

Here are some other popular searches to do on Zillow:

  • Hardwood versus carpeted floors
  • Storage sheds or workshops on the property
  • Large driveway for RV parking
  • Type of landscaping that’s present
  • Name of the neighborhood
  • Home office for remote work


The caveat to doing a custom search is that it depends on what information was put on the Zillow listing. You might have to tweak some of the verbiage or just ask the realtor for the complete list of amenities.

Another great feature of Zillow is that you can create an account and receive email alerts when a newly listed property appears that matches your criteria.

165th Street Bolivar MO

2. Get Pre-Approved in Advance

After you find homes that meet your criteria and you’ve got a price range, it’s time to get pre-approved ahead of talking to a real estate agent. Why is pre-approval a good idea? Because your real estate agent will use that figure to help search for your dream home. The easiest way to eliminate a possibility is to look at the price range for which you’re pre-approved.

Mortgage pre-approval determines how much money you can borrow to finance a home based on your income, assets, and creditworthiness. You’ll find out what types of loans you qualify for, the amount of money you can borrow, and a possible interest rate.

You might see the terms “pre-qualified” and “pre-approved” used interchangeably during this process. Pre-qualified is not the same as pre-approved. Pre-approval needs more in-depth information than pre-qualification. After you’re pre-approved, final approval happens after the lender receives an appraisal, inspection, and other documentation on the property.

Here are some simple steps to get pre-approval for a mortgage before contracting with a real estate agent.

Collect & Submit Relevant Documentation

Any potential lender, no matter which one you go with, will need your financial information ahead of giving you a loan estimate. You’ll need to show your debt-to-income ratio and proof of identity.

  • Proof of income with pay stubs, bank statements, tax returns, and W-2 forms
  • Employment history and verification of employment
  • Proof of asset ownership
  • Credit history
  • Identification with a driver’s license or valid ID with a Social Security number


You should hear back from a lender within three business days, but it depends on the lender. Sometimes pre-approval may take less time. You’ll receive an official pre-approval letter to show a real estate agent. Pre-approvals are typically good for 60 to 90 days.

Who should you approach about a mortgage pre-approval? Your current bank is a great starting point because that institution already has a lot of documentation on hand, such as payment history and income, in their system. But if you have any transaction history with another bank, you’ll need to submit that information, too. 

Don’t be afraid to check multiple lenders. You can always get pre-approved with more than one lender to see which one gives you the best offer.  Finally, your realtor will likely have a great suggestion for a reputable local lender.

3. Explore Local Amenities

Finding your dream home is more than just locating that perfect house on the ideal piece of property. You also want to look at the local amenities nearby that you favor. For parents of school-age children, that might mean a safe neighborhood with a great school. Active families might look for a walkable neighborhood with sidewalks, trails, sports fields, nature areas, or playgrounds. 

Healthcare is another consideration. How far away is a doctor or dentist? What about a hospital? You might want it to be easy to take care of everyone’s health needs within a short distance from home.

If you enjoy entertainment and date nights, look for a vibrant neighborhood on the edge of a retail area with local restaurants, shopping, and live music venues. Search for grocery stores that make for easy weekly shopping runs after a day at the office. 

In the era of remote working, telecommunications is another consideration. If you need fast internet speeds, look into those types of providers in your chosen area. 

Do you enjoy city life or country life? Another amenity to look for would be how many people you’ll be living around. Springfield has a population of 170,000. Places like Nixa and Ozark have between 20,000 and 25,000. Willard is around 6,500, while Fair Grove is 1,600. And, of course, there are rural properties for sale where you can custom-build your dream home!

Again, like your chosen dream home, the possibilities are endless when looking for your neighborhood. 

4. Consider Future Growth

A dream home is more than just a place for you and your family right now. If you plan on growing your family, how many kids do you want to have? Can you easily build an addition to your home if you want more space? What about any land or acreage where you can construct outbuildings like a greenhouse or chicken coop? How about hosting parties and gatherings? Would you want to expand your property to include a place to run a business, like a woodshop or machine shop?

Another thing to think about is what the neighborhood will look like in 10, 20, and 30 years. Would a nearby farm be an ideal place for a new subdivision at some point? How far away are your nearest neighbors? What about transportation like an airport or railroad tracks?

Find Your Dream Home With a Top Real Estate Agency in Springfield, Missouri

You have a lot to consider when choosing your dream home. If you can dream it, we can find it.  Contact us or call (417) 208-9108 to start the process of buying your dream home. We can help make it possible!