Buying a home doesn’t have to be an intimidating, overwhelming experience – and that’s true even if you’re moving to an entirely new area. What’s most important when buying a new home is understanding what matters to you most, and relaying that information back to your realtor. Be very specific and share as many details as possible when explaining your requirements for a new home with your realtor. The search process will be much smoother when your real estate agent is on the same page as you and knows exactly what you’re looking for.
The first thing your realtor will need to know is budget. There are a number of mortgage calculators available online that can help you understand how your income, debts and expenses affect what you can afford. And, your realtor can help you get pre-approved for a home loan to set the limit on what you will spend.
Once you’ve set your budget, be specific about your needs and requirements in a home. Remember to ask yourself:
Are you looking for a move-in ready home or are you open to renovations?
Do school zones factor into your decision?
How might your situation change in the next few years – are you married or planning for kids? Or is an older family member likely to need a first-floor bedroom when they visit?
Do you need a fence?
What do you dislike about your current place – no garage, outdated kitchen, etc.? This is your chance to make that a priority. This might also include his and her sinks, wood floors or walk-in closets.
How far are you willing to commute?
And – if you’re buying this home with your spouse, find out their answers as well. Finding disagreements or negotiating priorities when you're already out looking at homes can take away from how exciting the home buying process really can be.
Once you’ve determined what’s important, share these priorities with your realtor. Requirements and preferences for a home can be endless, but the more information you provide, the better us realtors can choose properties that suit your needs. Keep in mind that a house may not come with every feature you desire, so try to prioritize accordingly and explain what’s a must-have feature and what’s a nice-to-have feature.
In addition, consider your long-term plans and communicate these current and future goals with your realtor. If you are moving temporarily and plan on selling your house after five years, you may want to look at different real estate than you would look at if you planned to live in the home long term.
The more you communicate with you realtor about family, lifestyle and hobbies, the more likely it is you will see homes that are a fit for you. While your realtor may never be a mind reader (well except for me, but I just have a knack, what can I say…just kidding of course!), this will help them learn what’s important to you and how your new home will fit into your life. You never know, your realtor may even come up with a few ideas and suggestions that you hadn’t even considered when imagining your dream home!
What features are must-haves for your next home? What features do you aspire for in your dream home?