Deciding to buy a new home is an exciting endeavor! While it’s natural to want to jump into the search process, there are some important things to consider before you begin touring properties and submitting offers that can help set you up for success now and into the future.
1. Get Pre-approved
There is nothing worse than falling in love with a home that you just can’t afford. Pre-approval is a topic that can tend to turn off new buyers, but I promise, your Realtor is asking about this information with your best interests in mind. Not only will having a realistic range to work with make you a savvier, more confident shopper, but you will be able to determine loan options ahead of time, and be able to make an offer quickly and efficiently when you find THE ONE.
2. Think of the Future
Right now there may be just the two of you, but in a few years there could be three. Do you need a guest room? Do you have the time and resources to maintain a large yard? If this is your starter home and you anticipate a move in the next 5 years or so, what type of location and home will appeal to the broadest buyer pool when you are considering a sale? It seems odd to buy a home with the thought of eventually selling it, but unless this is your forever home, you will be listing it at some point and definitely want a quick sale when you do. (Say it with me: “Return On Investment!”)
3. Be Realistic
Most of the time your first home will not be your forever home. With job and family changes, many people find themselves moving multiple times throughout their lives, finding new homes that meet their new needs. It’s important to start with a wish list and share it with your Realtor. It’s definitely our job to help you check off as many of those “must haves” as possible, but realistically, small compromises are sometimes necessary to stay within your budget and to get what you really need. Of course, at the end of the day, only you decide what is truly negotiable! As a Realtor, it’s important for me to sell you the right home, and starting with a true understanding of the absolute necessities is a great way to search.
4. Don’t get Hung Up on Cosmetics
You can’t easily change the layout of a house or pick up and move the property to a better neighborhood like you can peel off terrible wallpaper or cover that awful paint color. Once you find a house with “good bones” (that may have a ridiculous palette or outdated lighting), try to see it as a blank canvas! This is your time to tap into that creative genius within and to create your masterpiece. With a little elbow grease and a pizza/painting party or two, your home can be exactly how you imagine it.
5. Have Fun!
The purchase of a new home is one of the biggest most people will make during their lifetimes, and that thought can be somewhat overwhelming at first. It’s important to take the process day by day and remember how exciting and beneficial it is as well! Making the decision to purchase a home is a huge milestone and something to be happy and proud of, so make sure to enjoy the little things and find fun in the process.