I have spent a lot of time this summer helping buyers look for their dream home. In a market like this where offers are incredibly competitive- buyers face rejection frequently. That rejection can leave quite a sting when you’ve fallen in love with a particular home. That’s why I always like to caution my clients to keep their minds and their options open.
There are, of course, a list of requirements a buyer should have for any home they are thinking about buying. However refining that list to a few of the most important attributes will really ease the home buying process.
I have put together a short list of what to look for in your dream home, so that you can keep your options as wide as possible while making sure the home you land in is a good match.
1) Renovation budget.
Know what you can afford to fix, and what your tolerance level is for renovations. You may have zero budget for renovations, and that’s okay, but that will guide us to only look at move-in-ready homes. If you can stomach some rehab projects without breaking the bank you’ll open up your prospects.
This is probably the number one thing people are concerned about when looking for a home. There’s a lot to consider here. How far are you comfortable commuting?What neighborhood fits your lifestyle best? Do you have dogs to walk and kids who would benefit from a quiet street? Or, do you prefer the easy access to shops and restaurants of a downtown location? Just remember to expand the neighborhood or neighborhoods you are looking in to the widest area possible. Visit places you don’t know well, you could be surprised by how much you like them!
3) Age of roof and systems.
Even if you have a healthy budget to take on renovation projects, no one wants to spend that on replacing plumbing, septic tanks, electrical, HVAC, or the roof. If those systems are in good shape and the house has good bones, there is a lot you can do to make a not-so-perfect fit feel a lot more like home.
4) Number of beds/baths.
Specifically consider the minimum number of bedrooms and bathrooms you need for your family. It seems obvious but this is going to have a greater impact on your immediate happiness in the home than total square footage. Redesigning existing rooms is generally easier and less expensive than adding new ones.
If you can limit your requirements to these four items, you will be much more successful in your house hunting journey. Remember your home is more than the finishes, the yard, or the square footage, it’s where you make memories, and that is what is most important.