Major life decisions like buying a home can be exciting, challenging, and sometimes stressful. Finding your dream home can take time and effort, but fear not, an experienced Realtor can help make this process much easier. Experience has taught us the following top things to consider if you are looking for a new place to call home:
1. Make a List of Priorities
Take time to identify a solid list of priorities in order of what’s most important to you and strive to get at least the top things on that list in one place. Unfortunately, for most people it will be unrealistic to find a home that has exactly everything on your list, so eventually you may have to give up something on your list, but you’ll want it to be a lower priority item. Ask yourself what you are most concerned about:
- Square footage?
- A private backyard?
Knowing what is nonnegotiable on your list will help you focus in the event that you will have to give up on one thing for another. Also, decide which things are preferences vs. needs on your list as well. You may love vaulted ceilings and prefer them, but are they an absolute need?
2. Plan Ahead
Think about your current life circumstances and what may change in the future. How long do you plan on staying in this house? Are you newly married and plan to have a growing family? Are you retiring soon and will be spending more time in your home? You wouldn’t want to buy a home that has features that work with your lifestyle for only a year, if you plan to spend 10 years there. Of course, life is unpredictable and you can’t plan for everything, but consider the things you know for sure or at least will most likely be the case in your near future.
Think about where you spend the most time in your current house. If you enjoy cooking and hosting dinner parties, then you’ll probably care about the kitchen set up a lot more than other areas of the house. So you should be more focused on making sure you love the kitchen area in your new house. You probably won’t be in love with every single room in a house, but if you love the rooms that you will be spending the most time in, then you can overlook some of the less desirable areas, since you won’t be spending as much time there anyways.
3. Stick to Your Budget
The magic number your comfortable with will be different from person to person. A general standard to aim for is to try to keep your mortgage payment (with taxes and insurance included) at around 25% of your total household monthly income. Be honest with yourself with what you can really afford and keep in mind all your living expenses and future changes to those expenses.
4. Have Patience and Don’t Give Up
Don’t give up! Especially if it takes a while, there will be a lot of days where the process of finding your dream home can seem overwhelming. Even if it takes longer than expected, it’s worth it when you finally get something you love. An upside to a long search is that you will really get a feel for the market, what is overpriced or underpriced for the location, and once you do make a decision you can be confident in your choice. Don’t be discouraged if you put an offer in on a house you love and you don’t get it. It’s OK, that just means it’s not the house for you and yours is still out there somewhere.
Keeping these tips in mind and working with an experienced Real Estate agent will get you ready to find the house of your dreams!