Looking for the Perfect Home?
It’s perfectly natural when you are shopping for a new home to look for your ideal, “perfect”, home. It’s not just a roof over your head, but where you will spend much of your personal time, hard work and sweat (if you plan to improve it), and host events with family and friends. You will build memories there.
So how do you shop for the perfect home? Well, you can’t. But if you follow the guidelines below, you will likely find that you are able to shop for the right home for you, and you may even find looking back that it was the ‘perfect’ home for you at that time in your life.
Consider how long you plan to live in your next home.
Do you think you will be relocating within 2 years? In that case, you probably don’t need a home that will fulfill all your needs for the next 30 years. Or look at it in reverse: how long will the home you are considering will meet your needs, and is that long enough for your current timeline?
What features do you require in a home to satisfy your lifestyle now? Five years from now? Depending on how long you plan to stay in your home, you’ll need to ensure that the home has the amenities that you’ll need. If you are looking at a two bedroom home, that may be fine if you are single or a couple with no children. However, if you plan to expand your family, you could outgrow the space more quickly than you think and perhaps should consider a home with room to grow (it will likely not be cost effective to move every two years, when you consider transaction costs as well). If there is a basement, could it be turned into a den and extra bedrooms? Is it an historic home where the upstairs/attic could perhaps be turned into a master suite? Have a list of “wants” vs “needs.”
Contrary to popular belief: this is a process of elimination, not selection! You can only choose from what is currently on the market in your price range.
Do consider resale…
…even if you think right now that you will live there for many years. If there is one constant in life, it is change, and the average homeowner only lives in their home for five-seven years.
Your lifestyle is key
We’ve all heard about the three most important aspects of real estate: location, location, location! But seriously, don’t get so caught up in the physical aspects of the house itself (room size, kitchen, etc.) that you forget such issues as neighborhood amenities, noise levels, and other factors that will have a big impact on what it would be like to live in your new home. Even in our smaller local community there will be locations that will better work for you and your lifestyle. Consider where you work, where your children go to school, and your preferences in terms of commuting, shopping, recreation and other factors that are important to you or other members of your household. In other words, you may find what you otherwise would think is the home for you and your current needs, but it does not exist in a vacuum, and these lifestyle needs are an important part of your decision.
Who is making the buying decision for your next home?
Is it just you, or you and your spouse/significant other? Have you decided that you want your mom to see the home first and approve of it, or you Auntie Grace? This can quickly get out of hand as more and more friends and family members get added or add themselves to the list of people to see the home first. Don’t ask for too many opinions. It’s natural to want reassurance for such a big decision, but too many ideas will make it much harder to make a decision, and at the end of the day it will be you living there, not Auntie Grace. And it’s happened more than once to my own personal clients that while they are touring with various family members and delaying their decision, someone else has come along and purchased the home. This can happen in any market, as sooner or later houses will sell if priced correctly.
Start now, don’t wait! Especially if you are a tax credit Buyer, in which case you have a built-in deadline along with most of the other buyers shopping in your same price range (under $150k in our market). The longer you wait, the higher the home prices will be as you will be competing with these other buyers. Not to mention the impact on your buying power of potentially rising rates…