Buying a home is likely the most expensive purchase you will make in a lifetime. It is understood that you want to find a home that you will love and not regret buying, right? I always try to set the expectation with my buyer clients that they can have a list of desires they want in a home and I will do my best to find properties that come as close as possible to matching that list but no home is going to be perfect and compromises sometimes have to be made. However, to find a home that you will truly enjoy living in, even if it means not getting everything you want, the following are a few tips to keep in mind:
1. Be patient. Sometimes buyers have situations in which they need to find a new home right away. For example, if they are relocating due to a job transfer or have their current home under contract scheduled to close. In those situations, being patient may not be much of an option. But if you do have time to look for a home, take your time. There are instances when a person might fall in love with the first home they tour and that is okay if they know that they know that they know that is the house for them. But more often, people will tour many homes before deciding to put in an offer. According to Realtor.com, “the average home buyer will visit 10 homes over 10 weeks’ time before they find ‘the one’”. Viewing several homes will allow a buyer to discover different features of a home that they may not have considered or even known about, and it allows them to learn about different neighborhoods.
2. Have a plan – identify your desires and needs. Before taking my clients on home tours, I have them write down their needs, desires, negotiables, and non-negotiables. That way, when they start looking at homes, they have a plan of action, they know, in general, what they are looking for and not wasting time. This is especially good for couples. Couples should write their lists separately then discuss them together to determine if they are on the same page or completely going in different directions. Before looking at homes is the time for couples to hopefully find a happy medium when it comes to their needs and desires.
3. Do not, repeat, DO NOT skip the home inspection. About 18 months ago, many buyers were doing just that during the housing frenzy of low inventory, constant multiple offer situations, and fast-paced sales. To beat the competition, some buyers were waiving the inspection and I cannot help but wonder how many of those buyers are now regretting that decision. Always get a home inspection; if you don’t, you could end up with a home needing costly repairs and you definitely won’t love that!
4. Lastly, make sure you can really afford the monthly house payments. It is almost unheard of for a buyer to put an offer on a home without a pre-approval letter from
a lender. Sellers want the assurance that the buyer making the offer can get the loan to close. But when you are pre-approved for a certain amount, be careful not to purchase a home that’s at the top of your pre approval amount if you know it may be a stretch for you money-wise. Being able to get approved for a mortgage loan and close on a home is a wonderful accomplishment but if you’re going to be (I hate to use this term) “house-poor” perhaps it’s best to wait until you can comfortably afford to buy a home.