When you buy a home, you're choosing your lifestyle for the next how ever many years you stay in that home. This means you’re choosing your neighborhood, neighbors, grocery stores, department stores, schools, parks, the distance you commute to and from work, and the distance from friends and family. There is a lot to consider when buying a house. After all, the decision you make now will be a decision you will have to live with for some time. That’s a very daunting statement, but if you plan ahead of time what you want in a home by considering your current and future needs, you should be able to confidently choose a home and be very happy with that decision.
Your Realtor will help you sort through all of the fog in the decision process. Your first plan of action is to be very clear with your agent upfront what your wishes are. Sure, after you’ve seen a few houses, you might adjust your wish list a bit, but be sure to communicate them accurately to your agent.
You can categorize your wishes in three different lists.
1. Must-Haves These are features in a home that you can’t live without and are certain you can afford: number of bedrooms, square footage, parking, yard size, basement, schools. These are things that are difficult to change or can’t change in a home.
2. Negotiables There are amenities or aspects of a home that are more wants versus needs and can be addressed after you’ve purchased the home: hardwood floors, neutral paint, fenced yard, stainless steel appliances. You can rip out carpeting and replace it with wood, and you can always paint and put up a fence later. It’s harder to add a bedroom or a garage.
3. Non-Negotiables These are things you know that you know you don’t want. Tiny yard, street parking only, one bathroom, concrete slab. Your agent should not waste your time showing you homes that have any of these items.
#1 Mistake Made by Buyers
Using the listing agent on a house as their buyer's agent. Just like in court, you want your own attorney looking out for YOUR best interests. Thus, you want YOUR own agent looking out for YOUR best interests.
After you’ve found “the one”, don’t procrastinate in making an offer. If you haven’t been approved for a mortgage, you can always make your offer contingent upon financing. But, you really should have finalized your loan approval before you’ve seen your first house.
Making An Offer
Just because a house has been on the market for a while, don’t get the idea you can scoop it up for half price. Your offer should reflect how serious you are about buying a house. Once it’s gone, it’s gone. And, you don’t want to offend the seller.
Try to limit the number of contingencies as much as possible. In a multiple offer scenario, the buyer that offers the least amount of contingencies versus the buyer who muddies the waters, will win.
These are the basics that apply to every home purchase regardless of your price range or the current market. Each real estate transaction is unique and can never be repeated again. Yes, there are homes in the same neighborhood that have the same square footage and layout, but they are never exactly the same. They don’t have the same seller, and neither do they have the same unique buyer, you. Apply these basics and your house hunting will be much happier. ■
Common Home Buying Myths That Can Add Stress To Your Happy House Hunting
◘ If a house has been on the market for a long time, the seller will take a low offer.
◘ A distressed property is always cheaper.
◘ If you look long enough, you’ll find the perfect house.
◘ Your friends and family will give you good advice about real estate.
All information contained herein is not guaranteed and is subject to verification.