Rushing to go see Open Houses? We all do it. We finally feel ready to buy a home, the time is right, we feel like we have saved enough for a downpayment, AND we then assume the next logical step is to get online, search new listings and consider going to an open house.
RESIST THAT URGE!
Yep, we tell our clients to NOT start looking around at homes immediately!
Because we want clients like you to look “under the hood” so-to-speak, and ask yourself some very important questions first. We want you first to define and picture the life you want to live and the home that will match it.
This “self-analysis” will dig deeper than “how much square footage would you like?” Your honest and revealing answers will lead you to the right home purchase – for you, for your lifestyle, and your budget.
Please don’t think that this brainstorming and self-exploration is something to scoff at… just ask our previous clients. It worked for them, and it will for you too!
Your answers to the questions below will help you avoid personal and financial disaster when it comes to real estate. You don’t want to rush in blindly when buying a home.
That’s why if you slow down and take the time to think and really evaluate your life and the “what” and “why” for a home, the rest of your home-buying experience (especially the house hunting part) will be much more rewarding and stress free. If you’re trying to decide whether to jump into the housing market or rent instead, here is 5 questions to answer before purchasing your first home.
You’ll actually get everything you want… and maybe even things you didn’t think you could have, or didn’t think about before!
This is THE absolute most important question to answer honestly since it will affect the rest of your home-buying search. You must answer this question first before you move on to the other questions.
Answering this question will help you determine what purpose your home will serve, most specifically your wants and needs at that stage of your life. Plus, you’ll determine what your main reason for buying a home now and for the time period you want to own that home.
For example, do you love being able to walk to work? Do you love going to your local coffee house everyday and enjoy local conveniences? Do you like to go for runs outside, or hit the gym instead? What is your actual reality day-to-day that you don’t want to sacrifice if you can?
Knowing the answer to this question will help you determine how much space you need. If you never have people over, then why have for that dinning table that you never use? But, if you rather cook dinner for friends than bar hop, then don’t give up your dream of having enough room to make this desire a reality.
This question will help you determine a location as well as things like whether you need a dedicated parking spot. Or, maybe you love biking to work every morning but don’t want to leave your bike in the living room anymore. Then looking for bike storage in a building that’s easy to get in and out of everyday , twice a day, will be important to you.
For example, do you plan to change jobs at some point so that your finances may change – a possible increase or decrease in salary? You don’t want to have a mortgage that binds you to your current job, especially if your goal is to switch to a less stressful work life while living there.
Confused? For example, would you prefer to live in a less expensive, possibly smaller home so you have the funds to travel the world or even for a favorite hobby… (think scuba diving, travel photography, etc.?) Or, do you want to live close to an important outside interest (think horseback riding, sailing, ballroom dancing, etc.)? Or, do you want space for your hobbies (think painting canvases, crafting supplies, or refurbishing antiquing finds, etc.)?
SO important! Some people get more excited about the local amenities than the features inside their home? Usually people tend to be more one than the other. Which are you? What do you tend to gravitate toward? For example, would you rather be near urban conveniences, lots of quiet green space, or a wider number of school choices? Then location could be more important to you. If so, many locations have distinct personalities and you want to find one that works for you. Keep in mind that certain locations will feature only certain types of homes to buy–condo apartment, row house, townhome, or single-family home. On the other hand, if having lots of inside space, an awesome chef’s kitchen, and a Jacuzzi bathtub gets you all excited rather than any particular neighborhood, than you are more of a house person.
Even if you don’t plan to have children soon, it’s a question worth asking since homes in better school districts tend to appreciate more in value. If you have young children or plan to start a family in the near future, then getting yourself educated about schools will be important. Just remember that your agent can’t recommend school districts due to Fair Housing Laws. You’ll need to do your own research and get feedback from friends and family.
What bothers you every single day about your current home? For example, it could be the lack of closet space or not enough counter space in the kitchen. And, on the flip side, what is the absolute most important, can’t-live-without it, deal breaker thing you MUST have? (We all have one.) Do you really, really want that master bedroom suite or that large eat-in kitchen? What about parking space? Or to live near mass transit?
This is the time to dream BIG! After asking yourself all the questions above, now’s the time to take your brainstorming to pen and paper. Get out a piece of paper and write down everything you could possibly have if you could have it all (within reason) in your next perfect home. Don’t holdback! Write down things you might think are out of reach.
It’s hard to start with what you are willing to give up, but after listing out all the things you DO want from the questions above (and don’t hold back on this part—list everything!) Circle three things you could possibly live without on that list.