Buying your first home can be intimidating, especially when some people believe there are ‘universal truths’ that will indicate whether you’ve made a good home buying decision.
Does the home have granite?
Does it have a west-facing yard?
These measurements don’t necessarily mean you’ve made a worthwhile purchase, but these questions may cause you to question your judgment and worry that the boogeyman of real estate will eat your hopes and dreams of a ‘perfect buy’ if you miss a step or selection.
In reality, there are very simple steps that a buyer can take to make sure that their purchase is a success and an enjoyable space to live for many years to come. Let’s take a step away from the old rules (and fear) and explore what will really get you into a home that will be both a functional space and a wise investment.
1. Ask the Right Questions for You
Of course, you want to ask questions! Ask about what will pertain to you, those living with you, and your lifestyle. Look at where you are now – what’s working? What isn’t? Use this as a measuring tool for your future success:
- Do you use three bedrooms with your family? No? Then perhaps you don’t need a home with three bedrooms.
- Are you (like myself) a hoarder of various makeup/hair products/towels/bobby pins? Don’t overlook storage solutions in the bathroom.
- Tech-inspired? How about a den to fit all your tech gadgets and toys?
No two families live in a home the same way. Take note of all the activities you complete in your home over the course of the day. Ask: where can the space be improved or changed to make living an easier and more enjoyable experience? Seek that out in your new home. If a plan is missing these options, ask whether they can be altered or added; builders want to help their customer, and you may be surprised at what they can accommodate. They may even have options that you have not yet thought, so be frank about your concerns and allow the new home professional get creative for you!
2. Don’t Buy Someone Else’s Dream
Many homeowners have family members that are involved in the purchase and offer their assistance or advice. While this is intended as a kindness, it sometimes clouds the judgment of the purchaser and makes the process more difficult. Avoid allowing someone else’s version of perfection ruin your home buying experience. Buying for the sake of resale or someone else’s dream is just going to ensure that in the long term you are disappointed with your purchase.
When you invest in a space, it is going to be something you wake up in, come home to, and share memories in; this space should be suited to your idea of how those moments should play out. Single out your opinions from your influencers and take their advice with a grain of salt; they are trying to look out for you, but may be personally biased through their own buying preferences. Remember, YOU have to live in the space – everyone else’s opinion comes second to yours.
3. When You Find What You Love – STOP SEARCHING
This is the hardest rule for homebuyers to follow. There is an ever-present feeling that there is always going to be that ever-greener grass just on the other side, even when you have found your paradise. It is difficult for homebuyers to feel like they have found ‘the one’ - the market has so many different options it seems that if you have found this amazing space, there must be an even greater home awaiting!
Unfortunately, this can lead to stagnation in the buying process where you can’t make a decision, or worse, another homeowner buys the home you loved while you were looking at other options. Continuing your search after you’ve found something you truly love can cause you to feel conflicted or hazy about something you once looked at as a great buy. Psychologically, by continuing the search, you are telling yourself that it is not ‘the one’ – when it most likely is! If you can imagine yourself living in the home, it has all the accoutrements that cater to your family and it is within your price range, stop searching.
While searching for your future home, it is easy to be weighed down by all the information and the burden such an important step in your life. Please do not get discouraged! Although it may seem overwhelming, it will be one of the most rewarding experiences you will have. If you keep these rules in mind while you journey towards your brand new home, you can rest assured that you did your homework and have decided upon a truly great buy.