8 STEPS TO BUYING YOUR FIRST HOME
Finding Your Home
So you've made the decision to purchase a home, you've hired your agent and secured financing, now it's time for the fun part, finding your home! Before you jump in the car you need to sit down with your agent and assess your wants and needs in a home. Viewing homes is a lot of fun, but without an idea of what you're looking for, the home search can go on for weeks or months, not much fun!
Before getting together with your agent, prepare by asking yourself the following questions:
1. What do I want my home near? Do you want a short commute to work? An easy walk to school for your kids? Perhaps you'd like a grocery store or your favorite coffee shop within close vicinity? Or maybe you'd prefer a more secluded home far away from everything?
2. How much space do I need and why? It isn't unusual to want a large home, but how large do you really need your home to be? Are you planning a large family, or will you live alone? Do you often have overnight guests? Do you fancy cleaning large spaces? Consider seriously how much space you need in order to be happy.
3. Which is more important, location or size? Consider your answers to the previous questions, if you can only have one, which would your prefer? Which is more important? How would your life be affected if you were to get a large house with a long commute, or a smaller house with a short commute?
4. Would I be interested in a fixer upper? A fixer upper home may seem like a cheaper option, but repair costs could be through the roof. Do you enjoy home repairs? Do you have the skills to do them yourself, or will you hire a contractor? A fixer upper home can be a fantastic chance to make your new home your own, but consider funds and time carefully.
5. How important is home value appreciation? A home is an investment, so appreciation is always important, but how important is it to you really? Will you live in your home for 20 years, allowing it to appreciate gradually? Or are you planning on selling in a few years with high appreciation?
6. Would I be interested in a condo? Some people enjoy the privacy and responsibility of a single family home. Others prefer to pay a fee and have problems taken care of for them. What would you prefer?
7. Would I be interested in new home construction? If you prefer move-in ready homes, this could be a good option for you, however there are older homes which are also move-in ready. Consider the type of architecture and design you find appealing and how much work you are willing to put into your new home to help you with this decision.
8. What features do I want in a home, and which do I really need? There are a lot of features you may want in a home, but they may not be what you need. Make a list of both your wants and needs and consider which are most important.
Once you have a good idea of the home you're looking for, set up a meeting with your real estate agent and discuss your thoughts with them. Present them with your top 5 needs in a home and explain the importance of each. Your agent will do their best to find you a home that matches your needs, but finding a home with all 5 qualities is rare. Finding a home with 3 or 4 of the items on your list is much more likely, so be sure to rate the importance of each.
Buyers are often concerned their agent will show them homes they aren't interested in, or with qualities they don't like, and they might. This isn't necessarily because your agent wasn't listening to you, they simply feel the aspects of the house you could like will outweigh the aspects of the house you won't like. Most agents want their clients to be aware of all their options.
If your agent only shows you homes you don't like, or if you feel they don't understand what it is you're looking for, ask to sit down with them and go over your list again. If after a second explanation your agent is still showing you the wrong homes consider finding a new agent to work with. You won't need to repeat any of the previous steps and you can often start working with a new agent the very next day. Of course this is something that doesn't happen often, and most people are very happy with their agents.