Buying your first home is exciting, especially now that we have sites like Pinterest and Houzz to get us ready for dream homes and home décor by the age of 14. And so, people often decide on what they want and what the deal breakers are. Many buyers plan their maximum offers, expectations, and maximum offers. And then hit the buyer hits the proverbial brick wall. There is nothing in his or her price range that has all the features of this “dream home”. It’s like dating, when you raise your standards and have too many prerequisites, you drastically reduce your chance of finding the perfect fit.
- Work with a Real Estate Professional… These pros know about the housing market in your area, and are more inclined to take you to see homes that are under your budget, that may need some work, but that have more ultimate potential than homes selling at the top of your budget. Sometimes you have to allow yourself to become more competitive in order to find what you want, and only looking in your price range may take you out of the running.
- Shop with Your Head, not Your Heart… You may find the home of your dreams, but it could be way out of your price range, and you could be over-extending yourself, while another home, one that needs your imagination to visualize what it could be, is just down the street, waiting to be discovered. Visit homes more than once before you make a decision. Yes, you want that feeling of “This is the one!”, but there could be more than one home that has “it” potential. You must love the home you choose as it is with an eye towards what it could be.
- Trust your Real Estate Agent. A good agent is like a salesperson and a CPA rolled into one. They are going to keep in mind your needs and desires – which are different – and what you should and should not be spending. Good agents want to make a sale, of course, but they want you to be happy. Moreover, the pros know which homes have a lot more potential than they “seem” to have, and can help you to see it too.
- Research is Worth It… When you find homes that interest you, google them, go to the bureau of public records in your town and find out about the home’s history. This is information that is available to the public, and stuff you might want to know. Be aware of things like what school district you’re in, what the utility companies charge, if there is a Homeowner’s Association, and how intrusive they are. Let the professionals do their jobs, but you must do yours. The more info you have, the better your decisions can be.
- Know What your Priorities and Deal Breakers are… know exactly what you want and get your priorities in order. You are going to have to compromise on some things and make some concessions. You may not get your fireplace, but instead you will have glorious views. Be a visionary.
Above all, be patient! Home buying is a process, and when you are buying for the first time, you should enjoy the process and learn from it. Be creative in your thinking, and be flexible. Rely on the pros for good advice. Allow yourself to be excited and eager, but temper that with good sense. Buying your first home is a great gift. Remember that, with gratitude.