Have to Start Somewhere
Can you believe it? You are about to embark on the journey of finding, and purchasing a home. It’s really quite incredible if you think about it. Buying a home. The quintessential American dream of home ownership. A place to hang your hat, or to raise your family, or to even retire to.
The home search process can be overwhelming, but it is a time you need to enjoy! With the right preparation and mindset, you can certainly enjoy the process of finding a home.
Laying the Foundation
A lot of agents will tell you to just make a list of attributes you are looking for in a home. We aren’t just any other agents. There is more to the process than making a checklist, and finding a home that marks off the most line items. After all, this is about home ownership! You need to be aware ahead of time that there are always trade offs, but they are different for every person.
Go ahead, and make that first step. Create a list of features that you find desirable. Fireplace? Single story? And so on. But also think about the inevitable trade-offs that will likely occur. Maybe there is a home that is absolutely fantastic, but the bathrooms aren’t updated. Is this a trade off you can be comfortable with? These are important to think about so that you are ready if it comes up.
I want to make sure I quickly touch on another element to the beginning of your process. Get a pre-approved. Know ahead of time what you can afford, and what you are willing to actually spend. This will play a role in how you look at what you want, and what trade offs you are comfortable with.
Talk With Your Realtor
While it is likely your realtor will ask you questions, it is still important to discuss your thoughts with them. The more they know about what you are looking for, the better they can help you. Excellent agents will listen very carefully to what you are looking for, and keep a close watch on the market for you. They will probably ask you questions that may relate to what I discussed above. You may hear things like “Are you open to considering a home that does not have any of the bedrooms downstairs?” Perhaps that is not an option for you because of elderly in-laws that have a hard time with stairs when they visit.
Your realtor wants to be in tune with the triggers that make you fall in love with a home.
This is an area that can thrown some home buyers for a loop. This is a very educational phase of the process, and many great realtors are intentional with that. The more educated you are about the market, the better informed decisions you can make when it comes time to make an offer.
Some home-buyers are surprised that their realtor may show them homes that don’t fully line up with what they are looking for. Don’t worry! This is not a waste of time! Great agents aim to help their clients be fully informed and educated about the market. It is important for you to learn how far your dollar goes in different areas, and with different properties. You will go into writing an offer on a home well-equipped with knowledge of the local market.
The goal is for you to be in the best position possible to achieve your dream of home ownership.
With visiting homes that closely align with your desires, as well as homes that may stretch your criteria, discovery occurs. Visiting homes might help you discover new characteristics that you like, or even change some that you end up not preferring. If you were originally interested in a slab foundation home, maybe a certain area is more prone to ground movement where a raised foundation makes more sense. This discovery process is critical in not only helping your realtor, but also helping you identify exactly what you want in a home.
I always recommend using the app Evernote to help keep your thoughts organized. We wrote up a piece about using Evernote for Home Search.
The state of the real estate market will determine your path for moving forward. An excellent realtor will not put you through a cookie-cutter process, because that is not what is going to be best for you. Market conditions, and the conditions of each home play a huge role in how you structure your offer. In some markets, you might miss out on a few homes that garner multiple offers. Just remember that in writing an offer, you need to be comfortable with it. Where if you get it, you don’t feel like you overpaid. And if you don’t get it, bless whoever did…good for them.
Are you curious about how the real estate market is looking in a certain area? We’ll send you a free market report that will fill you in!
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