How Will You Know if This is the Right Home for You?
Updated: Mar 18
Some say they just know when they walk in the door. But, not all buyers are alike. Some are more pragmatic. Either way and regardless of what end of the spectrum you belong to, do your research when buying a home.
There is no such thing as the perfect home in that it will meet all 100% of your criteria both today and in the future. Just ask anyone who has ever built the perfect house and what they would change if they could start over. Often times, they have changes in mind before construction has even been completed. I tell my buyers to search for a property that is 90% perfect and then take a deeper look into it. It could very well be the right home!
There are so many ways buyers can be distracted and loose site of what they feel is important. This is especially true when the process becomes overwhelming. Many buyers have the idea at the beginning of the process they are up for looking at hundreds of properties if they need to until they find the right home. Quickly buyers with this mindset exhaust themselves by touring an abundance of properties. What seemed like fun in the beginning, ends up becoming more of an arduous task and those buyers may come to the decision to settle on a house that really does not meet their needs or wants. Some buyers abandon the search altogether when the search becomes cumbersome and less than desirable. With today's technology, you are able to view homes online without having to look through fifty to hundred homes in person. Take advantage of this. Do not waste your time or your real estate professional's time by touring properties that have no chance of being the "right" home.
Before you start touring properties, make a list of the "must haves" and "nice to haves" for your new home and focus on the "must have" list.
Once you begin touring properties, keep in mind your top two (possibly three properties) and forget the rest. Even if none of your top properties becomes the right property, it will help you focus on what is important and what you like. Trying to pick and choose what you like about a multitude of different properties leads to confusion and you will end up forgetting what each of those properties have to offer. Unfortunately, I have not found a way to take bits and pieces of each property to make it the 100% perfect property. Even if you build a property, you may not have the right location or something else may be missing from your "must have" list that you are unable to change.
When looking at a home there are a few things you cannot easily change.
Location -- you likely will not be able to pick up the house and move it. Determine the reasons the location you are searching for is important such as commute time to work, school district, accessibility to recreation, shopping, public transportation, interstate access, proximity to family, friends, church, etc. It is not the right home for you if this is a must have and the property doesn't check this box.
Style of Home -- don't search for a multi-level home, when you know you need a single level property and visa versa. You will likely not be able to change this without significant costs. So, if that is not feasible, just don't look for the sake of looking.
Features - Number of bedrooms and bathrooms are important to some. I would encourage you to not rule out those homes with dens, unfinished basements or extra space that can allow for conversion of these spaces to meet your needs. Consider again your "must haves" versus the "nice to haves" and proceed only with house that include the "must haves" or can be changed to include them.
Costs - There is often some negotiating power to be had on a list price. However, the chances of getting a property far below its fair market value is extremely rare for most buyers. Make sure you are searching in the right price range. Make sure you also know what the ongoing costs beyond the sale price will be. Take into consideration property taxes, association fees, maintenance, special insurance and beyond. Your real estate professional will help you with this.
Restrictions - Know which governmental, community or subdivision laws or restrictions apply. You don't want to buy a property and find out you cannot have certain pets, paint your home a certain color, build a treehouse, put in that pool, or erect a pole building. Don't rely on what you see throughout the neighborhood you are checking out. Restrictions and laws can change.
When you find what you feel maybe the "right home", I recommend a few more things:
1) go through the property more than once and, if possible, during different times of the day. You should feel more confident that this the house for you after each time you tour it.
2) talk to the neighbors. This will give you a sense of the immediate community you will hopefully be living in. Oftentimes, the neighbors know more about the history of the house and neighborhood than what your sellers and/or their agents do. You may even want to join any community or subdivision social media pages.
3) google the address and subdivision. It is possible you might find something about this house or the area that may have an impact on your thinking.
4) check out helpful websites. These are useful for learning about demographics, crime, sexual predators, school statistics, and locality of recreation, restaurants, shopping, public transportation, etc.
5) proceed with a licensed realtor or qualified real estate professional. They will explain the process, assist you in preparing your offer including providing you a market analysis of the property you have interest in, assist you with paperwork, negotiate on your behalf and be your representative to guide you throughout the entire transaction.
By Dori DeWitte, 03/05/19